Baby Health Pregnant women, young children priorities for swine flu vaccination
Posted Aug 04 2009 5:36pm
By Colleen Hurley, RD, Certified Kids Nutrition Specialist
As Mum Mums recently discussed, the UK Department of Health has decided to revamp their advice for swine flu avoidance for expecting women and young children. The US is following suit as a recent article explains a government panel recommended pregnant women and young children should be top priorities for the swine flu vaccine.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted last week to set vaccination priorities putting young children, expecting women, and healthcare workers at the top of the list. The expert panels recommendations are typically adopted by federal health officials.
Addressing potential vaccine shortages during times of high demand, the recommendations are designed to ensure those at highest risk receive the vaccine first. Also included in the high priority group are non-elderly adults with high-risk medical conditions and young adults aged 19-24.
The recommendations are in place to address potential shortages in supply if demand is high later this year. Approximately 120 million swine flu vaccines will be available in October, yet the government estimates yet there are about 160 million people in the determined priority group. Health officials are relying on the fact that not everyone will be rushing out to get vaccinated.
Historically, only about one half of the people recommended for the seasonal flu shot get vaccinated including only 15% of pregnant women. Panel members anticipate the vaccine to be available soon, but if the vaccine is scarce the high risk population would have to be pared down to about 40 million people. The group in the front of the line for the vaccine would be pregnant women, small children, and anyone who has contact with small children. The Centers for Disease control, who reviews the panels recommendations, state it is a worst-case scenario they are not anticipating but that it is important to have a plan in place should the need arise.