December 17, 2004
Late today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that its national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended expanding the list of priority groups for the flu vaccine. However, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is recommending for the time being that Texas health care providers continue to give flu shots only to those who are in high-risk categories.
DSHS officials said they want to assess the demand for the vaccine among those high-risk groups in Texas before expanding the target list.
The national advisory committee recommended that the priority list be expanded to include adults ages 50 through 64 and out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of people at high risk.
The committee stipulated that the recommendations, which will be effective Jan. 3, should apply to areas where state and local health authorities believe there is enough vaccine to meet demand.
DSHS announced yesterday that 560,000 additional doses of the flu vaccine are being shipped to Texas providers. State health officials say they want to make sure people in the high-risk groups have had sufficient opportunity to get a flu shot before expanding the target list.
The high-risk groups are children 6 months through 23 months of age, adults 65 and older, anyone with underlying chronic medical conditions, women who will be pregnant during flu season, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, children 6 months through 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy, medical care workers providing direct patient care and caregivers and household contacts of children under 6 months old.
(News Media: for more information contact Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, 512-458-7524.)