CDC Releases Update on Upcoming Flu Season

SEPTEMBER 1, 2005 - Posted at 3:48 p.m. CDT

ATLANTA, GA - As a precaution against another flu vaccine shortage, federal health officials today recommended that shots be prioritized for certain groups until October 24.

Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials noted that four companies are lined up to provide vaccine this year.  They said they hope the expected supplies will prevent the kind of shortages seen in three of the last five flu seasons.

But as a precaution, CDC said that initially only the groups most susceptible to severe complications from the flu should get vaccinated.

Earlier this year, CDC officials said they were likely to prioritize certain groups for the vaccination, at least at first.  But today, the government got more specific about timelines and supply data.

The prioritized groups include:

-People 65 and older who have underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk for flu complications, such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes and other chronic ailments.

-People ages two to 64 with such underlying conditions.

-Children ages six to 23 months.

-Residents of long-term care facilities.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)