Friday, November 30, 2007

Pandemic flu vaccinations: No time for ‘cutsies’ in line

If a pandemic flu hits and there is a vaccine available, who will get vaccinated first? According to the federal government, people working on the front lines — such as health care workers, firefighters and police, among others — will be first in line. That’s good, because they will be the ones out there trying to help during a crisis. Also at the head of the list for receiving vaccinations are those who are at higher risk of becoming very sick, such as pregnant women, infants and toddlers.

What about the elderly, and other adults? In a severe pandemic scenario, children between the ages of 3 and 18 will be vaccinated before people who are 65 and older, according to plans that are now in place. Healthy adults between the ages of 19 and 64 will come in last.

Depending on the type of pandemic we’re faced with, however, this order may shift. For example, healthy adults could become a higher priority if the pandemic looks anything like it did during the 1918 flu pandemic, during which nearly half of all deaths that occurred were among people ages 20 to 40.

Because vaccines may not be easily available during a pandemic, vaccination won’t be the only way to fight disease. Simple acts such as washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and staying home when you are sick will make a huge difference. That’s not just sound advice while living through a pandemic. It’s a good lesson for your everyday life.

Do you think the government’s plan makes sense? Is this the right order? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Has anyone given thought to the TEACHERS who will be in daily contact with likely "incubators" (kids)? It would seem that if the teachers end up "out sick" more children will be inconvenienced, at risk, etc.
Make the schools the healthy place to be by masking sure the school staff is healthy eniough to keep the schools open.