It will not be too late to be immunized for the flu if one waits until November through mid-December. Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) expects immunization for all patients to be available in early November.
In order to avoid delays or shortages, HUHS preordered privately purchased influenza vaccine last spring for the 2005-06 flu season. HUHS implemented the first high-risk immunization clinics starting Oct. 13.
Although influenza vaccine guidelines have officially been lifted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Harvard University Health Services is continuing to follow previous CDC guidelines until the full supplies have been received.
The guidelines for high-risk patients are:
- Persons over age 65
- Children ages 6 to 23 months
- Persons ages 2 to 64 years with chronic conditions – cardiac or pulmonary conditions, including asthma, chronic metabolic disease (diabetes, renal dysfunction, immunosuppressive illnesses), and those with any conditions that compromise respiratory function
- Persons ages 6 months to 18 years receiving long-term aspirin therapy
- Pregnant women
- Health care workers involved in direct patient care
- Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age