According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the novel H1N1 influenza, commonly called the swine flu, is actually more likely to affect children and people ages 24 and under. Because of this, those groups as well as pregnant women, health care workers, caregivers of young children and those ages 25 through 64 years who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems are the first targets of the vaccine, which is to be given in two doses and addition to, not instead of, the seasonal flu vaccine. While older Americans do not seem as likely to get the swine flu as younger people, the committee stressed that people over the age of 65 need to receive their usual seasonal flu vaccine and suggest getting it as soon as it is available. If you are over 65 and the novel H1N1 vaccine is also in available supply or has been specifically recommended for you by your doctor, know that both the seasonal flu and novel H1N1 vaccines may be administered on the same day. Vaccines should be available in early fall. Be sure to talk to your doctor, the office nurse or the health care facility where you typically get your shot to find out when you can get it.
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