Both Seasonal Influenza And 2009 H1N1 Vaccines To Be Available
While some scheduled seasonal influenza vaccination clinics have been postponed, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports there should be adequate seasonal influenza vaccine available as we proceed through the rest of October and into November.
“There appears to be a delay, not a shortage, of seasonal flu vaccine,” said Chief Medical Officer Ned Calonge. “The estimated seasonal flu vaccine production for 2009-10 influenza season is approximately 114-115 million doses nationwide, a record number of doses and more than we have ever given in a single season.”
Approximately 70 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine have been distributed as of Sept. 25. This is approximately 61 percent of the doses that are expected to be distributed for this season, so a substantial amount still will become available.
“Typical seasonal flu vaccination efforts are in full swing in October and November,” said Calonge. “We anticipate this year seasonal flu vaccination efforts will follow this trend and will continue through the next couple of months.”
“This year, with both seasonal and H1N1 influenza circulating in the state, it is important for people to get both vaccines to protect themselves from these viruses. Seasonal influenza vaccines already have been available in the state, and more doses will continue to arrive through the fall,” said Calonge.
Coloradans can go to http://www.immunizecolorado.com and click on the link for “find a flu clinic.” They can search by city, town or zip code to find locations where vaccines are available. People also can call the CoHELP hotline at 1-877-462-2911.
2009 H1N1 vaccine
Later this week, local public health agencies and hospitals in Colorado will begin receiving the first doses of the H1N1 vaccine. These initial doses will be used to protect health care workers who can protect themselves and their patients by getting the vaccine.
“People should know that with just 50,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine arriving in the state this week, under federal guidance these are intended for health care workers,” said Calonge. The initial doses are a live, attenuated influenza vaccine that is recommended only for healthy individuals, ages 2 through 49, with no underlying health conditions.
Colorado will receive more than one million doses of H1N1 vaccine arriving in increments into mid-November, with the biggest shipments arriving in November.
“We are currently seeing an H1N1 flu ‘wave,’ with virtually no seasonal flu,” said Calonge. “We usually do not start our campaigns for seasonal vaccine until October and on average give most of our vaccine in late October through mid-November. The seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu vaccination campaigns will overlap this year.”
To help people anticipate when the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines are likely to be available, please consider the following.
Seasonal influenza vaccine
Doses of this vaccine already have been arriving in the state and are available at some locations. Visit http://www.immunizecolorado.com to find the dates and locations for availability. As doses continue to arrive, please continue to check the Web site or call CoHELP at 1-877-462-2911 for information.
2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine
The initial doses arriving this week are nasal flu mist that is not appropriate for pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions or children under 2 years of age. These initial doses are intended for health care workers with direct patient care responsibilities.
When the additional shipments arrive in the coming weeks, health departments will begin to make vaccine available for high-priority groups. The Colorado Health Department expects significantly larger shipments of the vaccine supply to arrive in November. Through the winter, there will be an adequate supply to vaccinate all those who are interested.
In addition to health care workers involved in direct patient care, high-priority groups include pregnant women; household contacts of children under age 6 months; children, adolescents and young adults age 6 months to 25 years; and adults up to age 65 years if they have underlying chronic illness that puts them at increased risk for complications of the flu. Within this group of individuals, the vaccine will first go to pregnant women; caregivers for infants under 6 months (because young children cannot receive the vaccine); other children under age 5; and individuals 5 to 18 years of age with chronic conditions, who seem to be having more difficulty dealing with the flu.
“Once supplies are available, getting vaccinated is the single best way to protect yourself against the flu,” said Calonge. “Please check the Immunize Colorado Web site or call CoHELP for vaccination locations and dates. Until then, we continue to urge good handwashing, keeping ill children at home, and not going to work when you are ill.”