Dec 17, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – To keep influenza vaccine from going to waste, the government announced today that more people will be eligible to receive flu shots starting Jan 3 where supplies are adequate.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said people aged 50 to 64 and those who care for or share a household with people in high-risk groups will be included in vaccination priority groups as of Jan 3, provided local health authorities determine that the vaccine supply is sufficient.The change was recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).”In most communities we’re still targeting vaccine to the people in the highest priority groups,” said CDC Director Julie Gerberding, MD. “The challenge is that in some places, health departments and private providers currently do not have enough demand from people in those priority groups. We don’t want those doses to go to waste, so some states are expanding to make good use of those doses. The ACIP’s recommendation is consistent with this approach.”Because of the flu vaccine shortage, the CDC previously had recommended that doses be reserved for children aged 6 to 23 months, people 65 and older, the chronically ill, pregnant women, nursing-home and long-term care residents, children on chronic aspirin therapy, healthcare workers involved in direct patient care, and caregivers and household contacts of babies under 6 months old.The ACIP suggested implementing the change Jan 3 to allow time for unvaccinated people in current priority groups to seek shots.The ACIP also passed a resolution expanding the groups eligible to receive flu shots under the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, the CDC said. Effective immediately, VFC-eligible children who are household contacts of people in high-risk groups are eligible for vaccination, the committee said.Today’s announcement was foreshadowed last week, when the CDC suggested that the vaccination guidelines could be broadened in states that still had vaccine doses left in the private sector after meeting the demand from priority groups.
The incredible work the football players have put in at practice all season long, underneath the surface-level perception of a 5-3 team, has translated into two straight wins and, consequently, an excellent position to win the division.“The competitiveness has always been there, but we’ve really been executing these past two games and [the] guys have really been playing for each other,” redshirt senior quarterback Cody Kessler said after practice Tuesday. “All the hard work — everything has always been there. Our biggest saying was just [finishing] games and executing and trying to keep everybody together.“Linebacker Su’a Cravens said that though the team had started growing impatient with the amount of work they had been doing in practice — which had fallen short with losses in previous games — they were never discouraged. USC has learned that executing the game plan in practice has earned these two wins.“We were making mistakes that we knew we were better than,” Cravens said. “We know that if we execute everything we work hard on in practice, we would end up being successful. So going into this week, it will be just like the last two weeks — do your job.”Interim head coach Clay Helton certainly has his team dedicated to playing for each other and for their new head coach. Helton says that he’s been “very humbled” by the way his players have responded to his message of playing as a family, and they have begun playing much more collectively on the field, in practices and games.“You see guys going out there making plays, and you see guys who maybe aren’t getting the balls as much as they would like to out there blocking,” Helton said.Kessler echoed Helton’s sentiment of teamwork and hard work in practice.“It is really cool to see when guys genuinely care about winning games and making plays, just so that their teammate can make it,” Kessler said.Kessler has faced a lot of adversity in his career and said that playing as a team is the best way to overcome it.“It shows you, probably the number one thing that I have learned in this entire experience — how important relationships are in this business,” Helton said. “Those relationships between coaches and players are invaluable, and I want them to know that I have the utmost trust in them … I know that I have their trust. And when you have that, you are going to be a very cohesive football team.”Offensive line coach Bob Connelly said that he is proud of his line players, who have exemplified a “collective unit” more than any other group on the team. Despite injuries to key starters, the Trojan line looked dominant in a second straight performance against Cal where the Trojan running backs accumulated 185 rushing yards, which resulted in 35 minutes of possession time.“I’m really proud of how our guys have come together,” Connelly said. Obviously, when pieces of the puzzle fall out, there has to be a ‘next guy up’ mentality, and that is what we are preaching right now. We want them to be hostile, mobile and agile.”This echoes a philosophy Helton has preached all season long, which has inspired USC to play together as a family.“I really think [Helton] can do great things for this team and this University. I believe in him,” Kessler said. “He’s got my vote 100 percent [to be head coach next year]. That is what we are doing. We are going to play 100 percent for him and hopefully end the season the right way.”Players have stayed and worked with position coaches after practice to improve their fundamentals all season. Receivers Dominic Davis, De’Quan Hampton and Deontay Burnett joined Kessler and new center Khaliel Rodgers Tuesday, who were already working on snaps, and ran routes that they wanted to improve on.Tight end De’Quan Hampton and the other less-experienced receivers are trying to develop their chemistry with Kessler as they prepare for more passes in the possible absence of injured JuJu Smith-Schuster, who leads the team with 52 catches for 956 yards and eight TDs. 6-foot-4 Hampton says that extra passes will help Kessler adjust to a bigger receiver.Smith-Schuster is listed as questionable in this weekend’s game against Arizona. He arrived at practice Tuesday with his hand wrapped in a sling after surgery on his ring finger, which Helton said went “extremely well.”“I just wanted stay and get some work in because in some one-on-ones [drills], I didn’t make some over-the-shoulder grabs I should have made, which had been bothering me,” Hampton said.Hampton has made significant catches in the last two wins and said that his particular attention to detail has resulted in him being more confident to make those plays. He says that his comfort level has definitely improved as he has gotten more and more time on the field. Because he has a firm grip on the playbook and the speed of the college game now, he is able to release off the line quicker and can analyze defenses better.“It hasn’t really mattered who is out there because the next guy is going to have to come out to work and make their plays,” Kessler said. “They made them last game. It is really comfortable for me knowing that these guys know the offense and, no matter who it is, they are going to come in and make plays.”Helton says that young wideouts such as freshman Deontay Burnett, who led USC receivers with three catches for 82 yards against Cal, have began to “blossom as players” largely because of a new 45-minute Monday practice, which was implemented the week before the Notre Dame game, that only consists of redshirt players and those who do not get as many reps. Helton said that the extra practice is largely the reason why Kessler has established a large amount of trust in his young receivers, who are continually stepping up and making huge plays for USC.“We usually use that as a day to be able to lift and for the veterans to get over their bumps and bruises, and watch the tape,” Helton said. “We have taken it upon ourselves saying that we want to develop every kid on the football team. So, they are getting the reps out there and they love it. It’s been really neat to see those young guys start to blossom as players.”