For months, public-health officials did their best to get limited flu vaccine to people in high-risk groups — the elderly, infants and those with chronic medical conditions...

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For months, public-health officials did their best to get limited flu vaccine to people in high-risk groups — the elderly, infants and those with chronic medical conditions. Now with flu vaccine piling up, it is only fair that shots be made available to a bigger group.


Appropriately, a key federal advisory group last week expanded the list of eligibility to everyone 50 years of age and over and people living with those in high-risk groups.


The group recommends the list of eligible shot recipients be expanded Jan. 3, but state and county authorities in Washington are beginning to provide shots to the broader age group, and that makes utmost sense. King County, for example, expanded its list Friday.


People in the original high-risk group who have been lollygagging and waiting to get a shot still should get in line in a hurry. Many people may not realize plenty of time remains to get a vaccine and have it be effective. Flu season peaks in our area around February and March.


Health officials wisely are trying to assure there is enough supply to continue to provide shots to children between the ages of 6 months and 23 months, adults 65 and over, and people ages 2 to 64 with underlying chronic medical conditions, residents of nursing homes and health-care workers involved in direct patient care.


But the government cannot go house to house and force people to get shots.


There comes a time when more people eager to avoid getting sick and spreading illness to others also should have access to the vaccine. And that time has come.


For a variety of reasons, more than half of the elderly or chronically ill did not show up for a shot and probably will not come out in significantly larger numbers now. It would be foolish to waste or sit on the limited supply much longer.