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August 25, 2009

ACIP Issues Guidelines for Use of Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine



Laurie Barclay, MD
August 24, 2009 — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has issued guidelines regarding the use of vaccine against infection with novel influenza A (H1N1) virus. The new recommendations were posted online August 21 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
"Because novel influenza A (H1N1) virus is continuing to cause illness in the United States and worldwide, the primary focus of vaccination efforts should be to vaccinate as many persons as possible in the recommended target groups as quickly as possible once vaccine becomes available," write Anne Schuchat, MD, and colleagues from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC.
H1N1 Vaccine Use
"As vaccine availability increases, additional groups are recommended for vaccination.... These recommendations are intended to provide vaccination programs and providers with information to assist in planning and to alert providers and the public about target groups comprising an estimated 159 million persons who are recommended to be first to receive influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine," write Dr. Schuchat and colleagues.
To assess which population groups should first be targeted for vaccination, the ACIP reviewed epidemiologic and clinical data on July 29, 2009. The ACIP also evaluated the projected supply likely to be available when the vaccine first becomes available, as well as the anticipated increase in vaccine availability during the following 6 months. By mid-October 2009, it is anticipated that licensed H1N1 vaccine will be available.
The guidelines recommend that vaccination efforts begin as soon as the vaccine is available. In accordance with state and local conditions, state and local health officials and vaccination providers should make decisions concerning vaccine administration and distribution.
Vaccination and healthcare providers should be vigilant about following announcements and other information forthcoming from state and local health departments and the CDC regarding vaccination against H1N1 virus infection. The CDC's influenza Web site and state and local health departments may provide additional information.

ACIP H1N1 Vaccine Recommendations
Key points of the ACIP recommendations include the following 3 items.
First, 5 general population groups that should be targeted as an initial focus of vaccination efforts are pregnant women, household contacts or caregivers for infants younger than 6 months (such as parents, siblings, and daycare providers), healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, children and young adults 6 months to 24 years of age, and persons aged 25 to 64 years who are at greater risk for influenza-related complications because of underlying medical conditions. These medical conditions increasing risk for influenza-related complications include chronic pulmonary conditions, including asthma; cardiovascular conditions except for hypertension; renal, hepatic, cognitive, neurologic/neuromuscular, hematologic, or metabolic disorders, including diabetes mellitus; and immunosuppression caused by medications or by human immunodeficiency virus.
Second, if initial vaccine availability is insufficient to meet demand, priority is established for a subset of persons within the initial target groups. These persons who are to receive priority for vaccination (order of target groups does not indicate priority) include pregnant women, household contacts or caregivers for infants younger than 6 months, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel in direct contact with patients or infectious material, children 6 months to 4 years of age, and children and adolescents aged 5 to 18 years who are at greater risk for influenza-related complications because of underlying medical conditions.
Third, as vaccine availability increases, other adult population groups should receive H1N1 vaccine in accordance with the guidelines recommendations.
In addition, ACIP made additional recommendations concerning the use of influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine, as follows:
The number of doses of vaccine needed for immunization against H1N1 has not been determined. Vaccine should not be stockpiled for patients who already have received 1 dose but might require a second dose, because vaccine availability is expected to increase over time.
If different anatomic sites are used, inactivated vaccines against seasonal and H1N1 viruses may be administered simultaneously. However, ACIP does not recommend simultaneous administration of live, attenuated vaccines against seasonal and H1N1 virus.
All persons, including those older than 65 years of age, who are currently recommended for seasonal influenza vaccine should receive the seasonal vaccine as soon as it is available. Recommendations for use of the 2009 to 2010 seasonal influenza vaccine were previously published.
"The guiding principle of these recommendations is to vaccinate as many persons as possible as quickly as possible," the guidelines authors."ACIP will review new epidemiologic and clinical data as they become available and might revise these recommendations."
Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. Published online August 21, 2009
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