If you are over age 64 and you want the H1N1 flu vaccine (swine flu) forget it! Even if you meet the criteria set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) you will not be allowed to get the vaccine. I know, today I was refused a shot. This development has great significance for everyone over 64 and especially transplant patients with compromised immune systems.
According to the CDC website (http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/highrisk.htm) these are the criteria for getting an H1N1 shot:
1. People at High Risk for Developing Flu-Related Complications
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- Adults 65 years of age and older
- Pregnant women
2. People who have medical conditions including:
- Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions [including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability (mental retardation), moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury].
- Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
- Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
- Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
- Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
- Kidney disorders
- Liver disorders
- Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
- Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids)
I fit into three of the criteria. I have asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) I am over 65 and because of my heart transplant two years ago I have a suppressed immune system. My transplant cardiologists strongly recommend that people like me should get the H1N1 shot yet when I showed up at the clinic today I was told by the nurse that I couldn’t have the shot because I was over 64. I double and triple checked to see if that is true and it is. The government doesn’t care if your health is at great risk from H1N1 if you are over 64. What I infer from this regulation is that CDC has determined that people my age don’t have much time left anyway so lets not waste vaccine on them even if they meet other criteria.
I would immediately agree that children and pregnant women should get the vaccine ahead of all others. That only seems fair and fairness is all I ask. Never before in my life have I been told I was too old for something. This smacks of governmental age discrimination.
If you agree that this situation is unfair and discriminatory let your congressional delegation know. Call them, email them or stop them on the street. CDC should not be allowed to say one thing in public and then introduce restrictions in private.
Please comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And – spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. On-line registration can be done at http://www.donatelife.net/index.php Whenever you can, help people formally register. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be a donor you may save or positively affect over 50 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.
You are also invited to join Organ Transplantation Initiative (OTI) http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=152655364765710 a group dedicated to providing help and information to donors, donor families, transplant patients and families, caregivers and all other interested parties. Your participation is important if we are to influence decision makers to support efforts to increase organ donation and support organ regeneration, replacement and research efforts.