Phoenix, Arizona (AP) Phoenix, the city that has been hit hardest by the flu pandemic, has approved the state’s first influenza vaccine for adults on Tuesday, the first such request in the United States.
The approval was hailed as a significant milestone for the vaccine and a sign that Arizona will be taking on the nation’s biggest health care challenge by 2020.
It was expected that Arizona would need more time to assess its public health response to the pandemic.
But in the past few days, officials in the state have announced that all children under 18, who are at least three months old, will be eligible for the shot.
The state also has started issuing flu vaccines to people who are not already receiving one, and is moving forward with the rollout of another influenza vaccine, which will be available in November.
The decision came after a review of the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The review determined that the flu vaccines are safe and effective and that the state should take immediate action to begin vaccinating children, according to a department statement.
Arizona Health and Services Commissioner Paul K. Miller said in a statement that the approval was a “significant milestone.”
“Arizona’s public health is a priority for us, and this is a step toward ensuring the health of our community and all Arizonans,” Miller said.
The CDC is reviewing the state decision.
CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters in Washington last week that the agency would work closely with Arizona officials.