By Martha Kerr
July 24, 2009 — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, is changing its recommendation for annual seasonal influenza vaccination for children aged 6 months to 18 years to a “full recommendation,” Anne Schuchat, MD, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, announced today.
In addition, the CDC is advising a seasonal flu vaccine for anyone who feels they need one.
“While we are focusing a lot of attention on the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, we do expect seasonal strains to emerge, and we are issuing updates of which strains to expect,” Dr. Schuchat said. These include the A-H1N1, A-H3N2, and B strains, “which are available in this year’s vaccine,” she noted. “This past year’s recommendations encouraged annual vaccination [of children]…. This year, [the CDC] is no longer just advising vaccination whenever feasible but is [issuing] a full-out recommendation” of the seasonal flu vaccine.
Only about 40% of the US population received a flu vaccine last year. The CDC is recommending and emphasizing “an intensification of use” of the vaccine.