When the fall/winter flu season descends once again, the Centers for Disease Control will be ready for it, according to agency representatives.
After the National Flu Vaccine Summit concluded in Chicago this June, CDC spokesman Curtis Allen confirmed a record number of flu vaccine doses are expected to be produced this year–between 100 and 120 million doses. The most ever distributed was 83.1 million in 2003.
New vaccines must be developed every year because flu strains mutate, and if all the doses are not distributed, the vaccine expires and must be destroyed, said Dr. Jeanne Santoli, deputy director of the Immunization Services Division at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases in Atlanta.
Santoli said the agency is in the process of planning a public health campaign to make sure citizens around the country who need the flu vaccine get it.
Certain populations face a higher risk of suffering from flu complications, including:
- people 65 and older, the group most likely to have complications that lead to death or hospitalization;
- people between the ages of 50 and 64, because they could have underlying health conditions that have not yet been recognized;
- people with chronic diseases such as kidney or liver disease; and
- children under 5.
— Mat Herron