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During influenza epidemics bacterial complications such as pneumonia are very common, especially in elderly persons and in other high-risk groups. For people belonging in one of these priority groups vaccination is generally recommended.

A flu vaccine can be given to anyone who wants to avoid the flu, unless the person belongs to the group of those who should not receive the influenza vaccine.

Priority Groups for Inactivated Influenza Vaccination

Inactivated influenza vaccine is recommended for persons in the following priority groups:

  • all children aged 6–23 months;
  • adults aged ≥65 years;
  • persons aged 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 aged 2–18 years on chronic aspirin therapy;
  • health-care workers involved in direct patient care; and
  • out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children aged <6 months.
Persons in the priority groups identified above should be encouraged to search locally for vaccine if their regular health-care provider does not have vaccine available. Children aged <9 years require 2 doses of vaccine if they have not previously been vaccinated.

All children who are at high risk for complications from influenza, including those aged 623 months, should be vaccinated with a first or second dose, depending on vaccination status. However, doses should not be held in reserve to ensure that 2 doses will be available. Instead, available vaccine should be used to vaccinate persons in priority groups on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Persons Who Should Not Receive Influenza Vaccine

Persons in the following groups should not receive influenza vaccine without the recommendation of their physicians:
  • persons with a severe allergy (i.e., anaphylactic allergic reaction) to hens' eggs; and
  • persons who previously had onset of Guillain-Barré syndrome during the 6 weeks after receiving influenza vaccine.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention USA

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