The Department of Health today revoked restrictions on flu vaccines, meaning available doses no longer are limited to certain groups. However, health officials noted there still is limited vaccine supply in the state.Anyone who wants a flu shot and previously did not receive one is encouraged to call his or her primary care physician or their local health unit to ask if vaccine is available.

“Since the national crisis with the influenza vaccine shortage began, our number one goal has been to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens had access to the limited vaccine supply,” said Ruben Tapia, director of the LDH Immunizations Program. “We are confident that our partners in public health have had ample opportunity to vaccinate all high-risk individuals who have stepped forward. Therefore, we are lifting the flu vaccine restrictions so that available doses can be given to others.”

Due to a nationwide shortage of flu vaccines, immunizations previously were limited to those in high-risk groups --- adults aged 50 or older; children aged 6-23 months or children on chronic aspirin therapy, pregnant women, residents of nursing home or long-term care facilities, and adults and children who have certain underlying health conditions such as heart or lung disease, transplant recipients, persons with AIDS or other diseases that weaken a person’s ability to fight off infection or caregivers of people in any of the high-risk groups.

Although flu season began in the fall, it is not too late to receive a flu vaccine. So far this year, cases of flu and flu-like activity have been reported throughout the state. However, no hospitalizations due to flu have occurred, and this year has seen less flu activity than at this time last year.