by David Gutierrez
June 26, 2010
An advisory panel to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
has recommended that every person be vaccinated for the seasonal flu
yearly, except in a few cases where the vaccine is known to be
"Now no one should
say 'Should I or shouldn't I?'" said CDC flu specialist
The Advisory Committee
on Immunization Practices voted 11-0 with one abstention to
recommend yearly flu vaccination for everyone except for children
under the age of six months, whose immune systems have not yet
developed enough for vaccination to be safe, and people with egg
allergies or other health conditions that are known to make flu
If accepted by the CDC, this recommendation will
then be publicized to doctors and other health workers.
The CDC nearly always accepts the advisory committee's
Current CDC recommendations call for the yearly vaccination of all
children over the age of six months, all adults over the age of 49,
health care workers, people with chronic health problems and anyone
who cares for a person in one of these groups. These recommendations
cover 85 percent of the US population.
Excluded are adults between the ages of 19 and 49 who do not come
into close contact with people in high-risk groups.
The new recommendation,
if adopted, would close that gap, bringing an end to a 10-year
campaign by supporters of universal vaccination. In the past, the
advisory committee has been reluctant to recommend universal
vaccination for fear that it might produce vaccine shortages that
place members of higher risk groups in danger.
Yet even with current
recommendations, only 33 percent of the public gets vaccinated every
year, leaving millions of doses to be disposed of.
H1N1 swine flu scare of the past
year played a major role in the committee's about face, both because
the disease killed many people falling outside the current
recommended vaccine demographic and because it raised public
awareness of and demand for vaccines.
Government Panel - All Should Get
Seasonal Flu Shot Each Year
February 25, 2010
ATLANTA (AP) - A government panel is now recommending that virtually
all Americans get a flu shot each year, starting this fall.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices had gradually been
expanding its recommendation for flu shots - 85% of Americans were
On Wednesday, the panel voted to recommend a seasonal flu
vaccination for everyone except babies younger than 6 months and
those with egg allergies or other unusual conditions. The panel's
recommendation now goes to the Centers for Disease Control and
usually follows the panel's advice and spreads the message to
doctors and hospitals across the country.
"Now no one should
say 'Should I or shouldn't I?'" said Dr. Anthony Fiore, a
CDC flu specialist.
recommendations tend to be influential with the doctors who give the
shots and the health insurers who pay for them.
Flu shots are already recommended for 85% of the U.S. public,
including pregnant women, children older than 6 months, adults 50
and older, people with certain chronic health conditions, health
care workers and those who take care of people in a recommended
group. The only people who weren't specifically included were
healthy people ages 19 to 49 who don't have close contact with
anyone at risk of flu and its complications.
But only about 33% of Americans actually get a flu shot, and
unusually millions and millions of doses get thrown away annually.
The swine flu pandemic that hit last year caused a new momentum for
flu vaccinations. Virtually all the 114 million doses of seasonal
flu vaccine doses made were distributed, and more young adults and
children got the swine flu vaccine than usually come out for
The panel voted 11 to 0 - with one abstention - for the
recommendation, prompting a short round of applause in the CDC
auditorium where the meeting was held. Some public health experts
and physicians had been pushing for a universal flu vaccination
recommendation for more than 10 years.
Also on Wednesday, the panel gave its nod to a proposed formulation
of next year's seasonal flu vaccine. The vaccine will be built to
protect against three strains of flu scientists think will be
circulating next fall and winter. Swine flu is to be one of the
strains incorporated into the vaccine.
At past meetings, the panel stopped short of recommending flu shots
for everyone. Panel members were mindful of a history of temporary
flu vaccine shortages in the United States.
They worried a universal
recommendation might cause demand to far surpass supply and endanger
those at the highest risk of life-threatening flu complications.
"Yet every year we
wasted millions and millions of doses," said Dr. Gregory
Poland, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases expert who for
years has passionately pushed the panel to recommend flu shots
The swine flu vaccine
campaign appears to be ending the same way.
Doses were scarce when
the swine flu vaccine first became available in early October, but
now roughly 90 million people have been vaccinated, demand is dying
and millions of doses are unused.
Swine flu provided another argument for universal vaccination. The
new virus proved to be unusually dangerous to young adults, and also
took a surprising toll on Native Americans and obese people. Many of
those hospitalized and killed by swine flu were not in groups
previously recommended for annual flu shots, and that fact was
another reason to expand the vaccination recommendation, experts
There are a few exceptions to the universal recommendation. Children
under 6 months of age, who have undeveloped immune systems, will
continue to be exempt. So too will people who have egg allergies
(the vaccine is made using eggs) and those who have had certain
severe reactions to flu shots in the past.
The panel also decided that elderly people can consider a new,
revved-up version of the seasonal flu shot. It's a
Sanofi Pasteur vaccine for adults
65 and older.
In years when the flu shot is well matched to circulating flu
viruses, vaccine is 70 to 90% effective in people younger than 65,
the CDC estimates. But it tends to be only 30 to 70% effective in
those who are older because they generally have weakened immune
The Sanofi vaccine - called
Fluzone High-Dose - has four times
as much immunity-building antibodies as a standard dose. The U.S.
Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine in December, and
it should be available for the 2010-2011 flu season. It would cost
about $25 a shot, or about twice the standard version.
The panel did not state a preference for the vaccine, however.
The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration approved the vaccine through an accelerated process,
and Sanofi is to do further studies to show the shot reduces flu
Just say yes
March 16, 2010
CDC’s Advisory Committee on
Immunization Practices (ACIP)
voted to expand the flu shot recommendations to include everyone
over the age of 6 months.
In other words, the CDC will be recommending that virtually every
American alive today should get a flu shot next season. Now you
might have some contraindications - such as egg allergy or a chronic
disease - that will keep you off the recommended list.
Everyone else? Step right up!
A CDC flu specialist told the Washington Post,
“Now no one should
say, ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’”
That’s right - you don’t
even have to THINK about it anymore.
When your doctor
“Ready for your flu
shot?” It’s easy. You just say, “Yes!”
And here’s the best
part: It’s easier for your doctor because now HE doesn’t have to
think about it either!
A representative of the
American College of Physicians actually
“This will be much
simpler. We don’t have to figure out who should get the
In the past, a doctor
had to look at some paperwork to find the age of his patient. Then
he had to figure out if the patient belonged in one of two age
groups: six months to 18 years, or anyone over 50. Imagine how
complex that was!
When the ACIP voted on the new recommendations, there was actually a
round of applause at the meeting where the vote occurred. That’s how
much these people craved this change. They were celebrating! Which
is fairly odd because there’s zero evidence that the flu
vaccine even works.
And they know it.
Last year, I told you about an important study from the
Cochrane Collaboration - a
non-profit, independent organization that reviews a wide variety of
health care research. Cochrane researchers examined every influenza
vaccine study conducted between 1948 and 2007.
“There is no
evidence whatsoever that seasonal influenza vaccines have any
effect, especially in the elderly and young children. No
evidence of reduced cases, deaths, complications.”
So the CDC - these very
mainstreamers who are always telling us that supplements don’t have
gold standard proof of effectiveness - are recommending that
nearly every person in the U.S. should get this completely
unproven vaccine next year.
They’re going to be mystified when millions of people just say,