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October 14, 2004


Question from Minnesota, USA:

With this year's flu vaccine shortage, should otherwise healthy children with diabetes get a flu vaccine or decline this year so other "more at risk" people get the vaccine?


The following reflects the CDC revised guidelines released just this week regarding flu vaccination. The following priority groups for influenza vaccination this season are considered to be of equal importance and are:

All children ages 6-23 months;
Adults ages 65 years and older;
Persons ages 2-64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions;
All women who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
Children ages 6 months-18 years on chronic aspirin therapy;
Health-care workers involved in direct patient care; and
Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children aged less than 6 months.

According to the CDC, “People not included in the above priority groups are asked to defer or forego vaccination this season.”

Here are some other great tips for avoiding the wintertime bugs, including influenza and preventing the spread of those germs. Avoid close contact with others who are sick and when you are sick. Stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. Also, cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes during illness.

This may be a difficult season for the wintertime bugs, including influenza. Your pediatrician is your best resource for determining whether your child may need the influenza vaccine. Make plans now to seek their guidance. Immunize appropriately and now if your child is at risk.