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Good News and Bad News About H1N1 Vaccine

Friday, October 29, 2010 // Uncategorized

9/22/2009 10:45:42 PM

First the good news:

The first shipments of H1N1 vaccine will go out the first week in October.  3.5 million doses of Flu Mist are scheduled to be shipped followed by the inactivated (injectable) vaccine.

The bad news:

To accomplish this herculaen task, they have had to delay shipment of the rest of our seasonal flu vaccine.  This makes sense, the H1N1 is the biggest problem now.  Optimal timing for the seasonal flu vaccine is late October and early November.  This is the time when the rest of our vaccine is due to arrive.  In the meantime, we hope to begin vaccinating persons at risk for H1N1.  If you haven’t yet received your seasonal flu vaccine, don’t panic.  There will be ample vaccine and ample time.  Our patients may call and we’ll take your name and call when it comes in.  The following is the CDC guidelines for H1N1 vaccinations.

The CDC’s Recommendations for Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Vaccine

Target groups for initial vaccine supplies include pregnant women as well as children and young adults.

The CDC has released its recommendations for use of influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine. Although the vaccines are not licensed yet, the target date for the first available supply is mid-October 2009. State and local health officials will distribute vaccines, depending on local conditions.

The CDC recommends that the following five target groups (about 159 million people in the U.S.) receive priority for vaccination: pregnant women, people living with or caring for infants younger than 6 months, healthcare and emergency-response personnel, children and young adults (age range 6 months–24 years), and other adults (age range, 25–64) who have medical conditions that put them at high risk for complications associated with seasonal influenza. If the vaccine supply is not adequate for the target groups, the CDC has defined a subset for initial vaccination. If the supply is adequate, vaccination should be made available to all adults aged 25 to 64. Given that older adults (age, ≥65) have exhibited lower risk for infection, vaccination in this older group is recommended only after demand is met in all younger groups. If the vaccine requires two doses (likely, but not known until licensure), vaccine supplies should not be stockpiled for patients who received first doses and might require another dose. Two inactivated influenza vaccines or one inactivated and one live vaccine can be administered during the same visit; two live influenza vaccines cannot be administered during the same visit.

Comment: As the vaccine becomes available, clinics, hospitals, and office-based practices must adjust usual vaccination programs to accommodate delivery systems (e.g., health department clinics, school programs) initiated by local health departments. The recommendations for standard seasonal influenza vaccine are unchanged, so vaccine administration will require more time. Both thimerosal-free vaccine (for young children and pregnant women) and inactivated and live attenuated vaccines are expected to be available.

Peggy Sue Weintrub, MD

Dr. Weintrub is on the Speakers’ Bureau for Sanofi-Aventis and MedImmune (manufacturers of inactivated and live-attenuated vaccines, respectively).

Published in Journal Watch Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine September 9, 2009

Citation(s):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use of influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2009. MMWR Recomm Rep 2009 Aug 28; 58:1. (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5810a1.htm)

Our patients who feel they fit into one of those categories may call and we’ll place your name on a list.  We don’t yet know how many doses of the vaccine we will receive.

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