Influenza activity has increased sharply throughout the country, as reflected by rising numbers of physician visits for influenza-like illnesses, hospitalizations for severe influenza and its complications, and deaths. Virtually all influenza viruses identified to date are 2009 H1N1 influenza (swine flu), which is widespread in nearly all 50 states.

Vaccination is the best way to protect against influenza. Millions of doses of the 2009 H1N1 influenza monovalent vaccine are being distributed weekly.

The intent of the federal government is to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the 2009 H1N1 influenza monovalent vaccine initially will be in limited supply, making it difficult to meet early demand.

Therefore, the following “special groups” are recommended as top priority for 2009 H1N1 influenza monovalent vaccine:

Vaccine supply is anticipated to improve over the next month or so. As more vaccine becomes available, all persons 6 months through 24 years...

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