Sept 21, 2009: What are the current indications for H1N1 vaccination?

It is flu season. The EDs are seeing many patients with the flu and many patients who are concerned that they have the flu.  Therefore the Tennessee Poison Center is partnering with the Department of Health to provide a free Flu Information Line between the hours of 11 am and 7 pm.  The number is 1-877-252-3432.  Hopefully we can answer questions and prevent unnecessary ED visits.   Donna Seger

The following is a contribution from Darryl Edmisson from the Department of Health.


Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Vaccine 2009-2010


Vaccine is particularly important for people at high risk for complications or severe disease and those who live with and care for them.


The pandemic influenza virus has primarily affected younger people, with strikingly low rates of disease and mortality among persons aged ≥65 years; CDC recommends targeting younger people for pandemic vaccination before expanding to those ≥65. Nevertheless, 90% of deaths due to seasonal influenza occur in this older group; they remain priority recipients for seasonal (non-pandemic) influenza vaccine.


Other groups are targeted for vaccination for certain reasons, and the table below is a quick reference. Target groups are not listed in any particular order.


Targeted Influenza Vaccination Groups

Seasonal Vaccine

Pandemic H1N1 Vaccine

Pregnant women

Pregnant women

Health care personnel

Health care and emergency medical services personnel

All children 6 months through 18 years

All persons 6 months through 24 years

Household contacts and caregivers of children <5 years of age (especially <6 months)

Household contacts and caregivers for children <6 months of age

All persons 19-49 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza*

Persons aged 25-64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza*

All persons >50 years


Household contacts and caregivers of  persons >5 years with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza*, including all adults >50



* Persons at higher risk of complications from seasonal and pandemic influenza include pregnant women; children <5 years; children <18 on long term aspirin therapy (risk of Reye’s Syndrome); adults and children who have chronic pulmonary (including asthma) or cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurological/neuromuscular, hematologic, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus); adults and children who have immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV); and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.


Children aged 6 months through 9 years need 2 doses of pandemic vaccine, administered about 1 month apart. All other persons aged 10 years and older need only one dose of pandemic vaccine. 

When pandemic influenza vaccine supplies are sufficient to meet demand among target groups, availability will be extended first to healthy people ages 25-64 years, then, as supplies permit, to persons aged ≥65 years. The timing of expansion will depend upon the level of demand among the target populations relative to supplies.


Question prepared by: Darryl Edmisson, Department of Health


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Donna Seger, M.D.

Medical Director

Tennessee Poison Center


Poison Help Hotline: 1-800-222-1222