Deployed military troops, emergency workers, pregnant women and children will be among the first to get scarce vaccinations if a pandemic strain of flu breaks out, U.S. officials said.
A long-awaited report issued on Oct. 23 lays out who would be first in line to get vaccinated against H5N1 bird flu or any other strain of pandemic influenza.
The HHS report proposes creating four categories of people, and vaccinating the top tier of each category first. The categories are homeland and national security, critical infrastructure, health and community support services and the general population.
Nearly all health experts agree that the world is overdue for a pandemic of some sort of influenza. No one can predict when one might come, how bad it would be or which strain of influenza virus may be responsible. But the H5N1 bird flu virus that has infected 331 people since 2003, killing 203 of them, is the current chief candidate.