Government panel recommends annual flu vaccinations for all

ATLANTA -- 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 percent of Americans were already included.

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 Prevention. The CDC usually follows the panel's advice and spreads the message to doctors and hospitals across the country.

CDC vaccination recommendations tend to be influential with the doctors and health insurers.

Only about 33 percent 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 seasonal flu.

Comments