Washington: Everyone in the United States over the age of six months should get seasonal influenza vaccines every year, federal vaccine advisers said on Wednesday.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made the long-awaited vote to recommend virtually universal flu vaccination -- something public health experts have long recommended.
"The new recommendation seeks to remove barriers to influenza immunization and signals the importance of preventing influenza across the entire population," the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
Earlier, experts told the committee that people who were morbidly obese and school-aged children were much more likely to become seriously ill or to die from H1N1 swine flu, as opposed to seasonal flu, which mostly kills the frail elderly.
Preliminary data showed the morbidly obese had four times the rate of hospitalizations and deaths, while the death rate for children was five times higher than usual, CDC experts at said.
They are working up detailed studies of the pandemic in the United States, the CDC`s Dr. Nancy Cox, Dr. Anne Schuchat and Dr. Lyn Finelli told the meeting.
The World Health Organization says it is too early to say the pandemic had peaked globally, although it has clearly waned in North America and Europe.
Cox said the pandemic version of H1N1 had clearly replaced its distant cousin, seasonal H1N1, this year.
WHO and advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration chose this week to replace the seasonal H1N1 component in next season`s flu vaccine with the swine flu strain.