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CDC: All Americans should receive a flu shot, not just those at high risk

Category: Infectious Diseases

Earlier this week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's immunization panel voted to recommend that all Americans six months of age or older should get a flu shot each year.

The universal recommendation simplifies the current policy, which has left some patients and doctors unsure of whether a flu shot was appropriate, according to CDC spokesman Richard Quartarone. For the 2010-11 flu season, vaccinations will be advised even for healthy adults ages 19 to 49 who have little or no contact with infants and the elderly, two groups with the highest risk of flu complications, according to WebMD.

"This is a practical recommendation to make it easier for people to get vaccinated," Quartarone said. "It reduces illnesses, potentially saves lives - the vote was almost unanimous."

Committee members added that the new recommendation would make it likely that insurance companies will cover flu shots for all healthy adults.

Quartarone admitted that the recent H1N1 swine flu pandemic played a major role in the committee's decision. He added that next season's flu vaccine will inoculate against the H1N1 strain.

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