The Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that every person over 6 months old should be vaccinated against the influenza virus. They voted for this policy last winter, on February 24, 2010. Their recommendation was that there should be “universal” flu vaccination in the United States and that the program at that time should be expanded to meet this goal, which was done.
The groups most ‘at risk’ should be especially careful to get their flu shots early in the season which begins in September, but it is not too late even now, in January. If you fall into any of the following groups and are still not vaccinated, it is wise to heed the advice of the CDC and do so at once. As of January 1st, 2011 those with Medicare coverage are entitled to free flu vaccines, so now there is no reason to delay taking this important step to protecting your health.
- Pregnant women
- Anyone over 50 years old
- Children who are younger than 5 years old, but there is a special urgency for those between 6 months and 2 years old
- Anyone of any age with some chronic medical conditions. Check with your doctor.
- Those who live in nursing homes or other care facilities long-term.
- People who come into frequent contact or live with others who are at high risk for the complications of the flu, which includes but is not limited to:
a. Those who work or live with young children, especially if the children are less than 6 months old and are too young to be vaccinated themselves.
b. Those who come in contact with persons at high risk for the complications the flu can cause.
c. Any health care workers.