Too Old To Get H1N1 Vaccine

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 ( these are the criteria for getting an H1N1 shot:

1. People at High Risk for Developing Flu-Related Complications

2. People who have medical conditions including:

  • Asthma
  • 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  And – spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors.  On-line registration can be done at  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)!/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.   


About Bob Aronson

Bob Aronson is a former journalist, a Minnesota Governor's Press Secretary and talk show host. For nearly a quarter of a century, he led the Aronson Partnership, a Minnesota-based communications consultancy that prepared corporate and government executives for crisis situations, regulatory testimony, media interviews and Presentations. Among his clients were all three U.S. Mayo Clinic locations, 3M, general Mills, CH2M Hill, the U.S. Department of Energy and scores more. In 2007 bob had a heart transplant after suffering from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy for 12 years. Shortly after he got his new heart he founded the now 4,300 member Facebook support group, Organ Transplant Initiative. At the same time, he established the Bob's Newheart blog where he has posted nearly 300 columns on organ donation, transplantation and other health related issues. The Viewpoint blog was started in late 2016 and bears the name of the Radio Talk show Bob did from 1966 until 1974, when he resigned to become Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich first Press secretary. Bob and his artist wife Robin, live in Jacksonville, Florida with their two dogs, Reilly and Ziggy. Bob is also a woodworker and makes all of the furnishings for Robin's art festival booth. He also makes one of a kind jewelry or "memories" boxes that he donates to select transplant patients, caregivers, donor families and others who have somehow contributed to making life easier for the ill, the elderly and the less fortunate. Bob is in the final stages of editing two full-length novels that will be available on Kindle when ready for release sometime in early 2017. One is a sci fi novel about an amazing discovery near Roswell, New Mexico and you will be surprised to find it has nothing to do with the Roswell story everyone knows. It features a woman scientist who investigates impact craters for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Dr. Rita Sylvester and her female student intern. The other book is a political thriller that introduces a new hero to the genre, Fargo Dennison.

Posted on November 19, 2009, in journaling. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Margarito Massare

    It is a good thing that there are no H1N1 outbreaks these days. It created a lot of scare back then. .

    My personal online site


  2. Hi Bob

    keep up the GREAT work that you do!


  3. Here’s the story. At first when the H1N1 vaccine was scare, CDC recommended that only high risk people like children and pregnant wome receieve the vaccine. Erroniously CDC decided that those of us who are over 65 may already have some kind of immunity so we weren’t eligible for the vaccine until everyone else got it. CDC failed to recognize that the death rate for people over 65 who contracted H1N1 was higher than any other group. I was turned down in Florida because of this action. In some states high risk people were treated faster than other states so the vaccine became available to people over 65 much sooner than states like Florida. That’s the CDC justification for what happened.

    My view remains the same. Yes, I am over 65 but I am also at very great risk because my immune system is compromised due to the drugs I take to prevent rejection of my transplanted heart. I wrote to CDC several times. They responded each time by totally ignoring the high risk nature of my condition. They seemed almost anoyed that I was writing to them.

    I also wrote to the entire Florida congressional delegation, Republicans and Democrats alike. I got one response from a Republican and it was a form letter that did not even allude to the situation I was in. That guy will never get my vote or even my consideration, but then neither will any of the others.

    I also wrote to the White House and heard nothing ftrom them. Now, the situation has changed and H1N1 shots are available to everyone in Florida, Walgreens and CVS are even giving them.

    I think this entire situation was unforgiveable and its another example of a bureocracy (CDC) ignoring senior citizens. We shouldn’t stand for it.


  4. My husband and I both received the vaccine. My almost 90 year old mother received it as well, As a matter of fact, they were giving it to most of the residents in her assisted living facility.

    I don’t understand why you were rejected


  5. First of all IF this is indeed, a REGULATION, someone please point me to it by regulation number.

    All the material at the two CDC links mentioned in this post and its comments mention that these are RECOMMENDATIONS, e.g..

    “the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that CDC and immunization programs focus on getting the first doses of 2009 H1N1 vaccine to those people who are more likely to get infected with the 2009 H1N1 flu virus”

    Neither the word “regulation” nor “law” appears anywhere on those two pages!

    Besides, any age or other discrimination in the provision of GOVERNMENT services would be a violation of the privileges and immunities clause of the 14th Amendment, right?

    This prevents the States from creating different classes of persons and discriminating on that basis.

    It was included in the Constitution primarily to prevent racial discrimination, but subsequent court decisions have affirmed that it is pretty much total in its scope.

    A great example are the various States’ laws that had required seniors to have yearly tests for their drivers licenses while those aged less than seniors had only been required to be tested every two or four years. The courts have struck those laws down.

    So I think anyone who stands in line should be legally allowed to have the vaccination if he hasn’t already.

    I’d humbly accept if anyone would show me I’m wrong.


  6. yes i think u are probably rite there bob and ur welcome hun x.


  7. I think you should point to the CDC web site that says it was last updated on November 5, 2009,
    which explains why.


  8. Thanks Donna:

    I don’t know the circumstances surrounding your mother-in-law nor the availability of the vaccine in your area. I do know that here in Florida the vaccine is not available to people over 64 regardless of their risk factors until all others have been vaccinated.

    At age 71 I don’t think people my age should be seen as “dispensible” by our government. I truly believe this is age discrimination placed on us by some power drunk bureaucrat.

    Thanks again


  9. hi bob i am 27 years old and i have asthma and i suffer with reflux to my oesophagus, and i was sent a letter for a swine flu injection and i had it done last wednesday, i can’t understand why you were refused one, my mother in law is 74 and suffers with a few illneses and she also had her’s done last week, i think you should seek a second opinion hun, good luck xx.


  10. Ashley Tenczar Curran

    It is interesting because I was having a discussion with some people yesterday about “expendable health care”. When ANY insurance company sits down to write their policies they ALWAYS add “expendable patients” to their lists, just as they do in many other projects in our country. (When building a new highway, for example, they estimate that 6.5 people will be injured or die in the construction)
    That is what appears to be happening now!
    The United States Government is “triaging” human beings, while at the same time, the CDC is putting out “reccomendations” for who should and should not get the H1N1 vaccine.
    Bob, you happen to be “expendable”. Indeed, I will write to my Senator, as I think he has a pile of mail with my name all over it in a closet somewhere.
    (Especially folks like transplant patients, who have fought SO HARD for SO MANY YEARS to stay ALIVE!!)
    When you think about the situation, it is very similiar to how UNOS handles it’s prescious organs, because there are not enough of them.
    This system, however, is not racist or discriminatory by age, it is simply because there are not enough organs to go around, and so the government had to design a program (UNOS) to get the organs to those people who need them most.
    Is there actually a shortage of H1N1? Mabye a politician can tell us the truth …:)
    By the way Bob, I refused the shot, so you can have mine!


  11. It is not fearmongering…open your eyes and look around. I know several high risk folks over 64 who were refused for age alone. I got my shot and it says right on the sheet you have to fill out that you must be under 64 years old.


  12. Judie McConville

    I, too, tried to get the shot. I had my heart transplant 2 years ago and told them at the local Health Dept. But because I’m over 64 they
    wouldn’t give it to me. So, I simply and politely told the nurse on duty that I supposed that if I got the flu and died, it was OK because I was over 64. Go figure!


  13. damindra gunatillake

    I had mine with no questions, but my question is surely if you are immuno suppressed then age does not come into the equation?? We have to have flu jab and surely this the same if not more important to have the h1n1 jab? I surely think these rules need re-evaluating and quickly!


  14. Claire L. Safford

    My local health department (Adams County, IL) gave me the same response — even though I, too, have a compromised immune system due to chemo/stem cell transplant at Mayo 3+ years ago, as well as diabetes and heart issues. It seems like the CDC guidelines leave a gaping hole for people like us, who fit all the guidelines but are over 64. I think it’s an oversight, rather that a rationing thingie, but it needs to be corrected.


  15. I recieved a liver transplant at the Mayo Clinic 3 years ago and when I called them to find out if I should have the H1N1 shot, they said “YES”. The only problem is they do not have it as it is not given to the clinic to dispense to us that need it. I checked in our area with the public health nurses and was told the same thing as you. I was told that members of a fire department were able to get the shot though. I will have to check on this more. I am on a volenteer fire department in my town, so maybe……., I hope.


  16. That may have indeed happened to YOU, but that is not the standard of car where I live. The Transplant Center I work at has not denied a single patient the H1N1 vaccine due to their being over 64. My husband works in a clinic that received about 1500 doses of H1N1 and they did not turn away a single patient due their being over 64. Please quit fearmongering and spreading this Propaganda of Government Rationed Healthcare.


    • If they denied no one they broke the law. This is not fearmongering but rather a dose of reality. It is an example of how some bureaucrats have decided to ration the vaccine. I am a strong supporter of the Obama health plan but this has nothing to do with the plan or with him. It is the CDC that made this regulation not the President. I’ll bet he doesn’t even know about it.


  1. Pingback: Claire safford | Rapidrefillwas

  2. Pingback: Death Panels? H1N1 shots refused to people over 64 years old ? « Saynsumthn’s Blog

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: