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H1N1 (Swine Flu): Got Vaccine Yet? Other Vaccine News

December 30, 2009

GOT MINE!  YOU?

I got mine!  I was working in Washington D.C. before Christmas (and that Big Blizzard) and walking by the Walgreens near my hotel I saw a sandwich board outside the store advertising H1N1 vaccine…no restrictions.  I felt like I had hit the jackpot! I asked the pharmacist – what gives?  Why are you giving it to anyone? Why no line? CDC had just released all restrictions and the priority list was no more.  I paid my $18 (administration fee, the vaccine is free), got my injection and am thrilled (and now after a week I can say – no reaction as well!).

OK, so you’re thinking, the disease is trending down across the country so why get a vaccine????  Well, most experts believe it will be back, likely in a third wave later this winter…the more people who are vaccinated combined with those who have had the illness means less available susceptible people and therefore less illness and impact.  And wouldn’t it be nice, NOT to get this flu??

This helpful diagram simply illustrates what happens when more people become vaccinated...we move towards a herd immunity and the spread of the illness is contained.

VACCINE NEWS UPDATES FROM CDC

The CDC has a Clinician Program called “Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA)” that publishes updates on disease issues – they have done an incredible job during the H1N1 first and second waves.  They recently provided this update on the status of vaccines across the United States.

(Updated) As of Wednesday, December 23, 2009, a cumulative total of 112,617,800 doses had been made available for ordering since vaccine shipping began. Of those available doses, 89,579,000 doses were injectable (flu shots) and 23,038,800 were LAIV (nasal spray vaccine).

(Updated) As of Tuesday, December 22, 2009, there were a total of 95,514,300 doses ordered.

(New) Some priority groups may not be able to find thimerosal-free H1N1 flu vaccine due to a recent recall of pre-filled, pediatric 0.25ml single-dose syringes by Sanofi Pasteur licensed for children 6-35 months old.  Check with your provider. http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/syringes_qa.htm

(New) On December 18, MedImmune notified CDC and FDA that the potency in thirteen batches (called “lots”) of nasal spray vaccine that had been distributed were later found to have dropped just below a pre-specified limit.  The slight decrease in potency should not have any impact on vaccine efficacy.  The manufacturer is managing this recall process.

(Updated) On December 7, Sanofi Pasteur notified CDC and FDA that the potency in one batch (called a “lot”) of vaccine in pre-filled pediatric syringes that had been distributed was later found to have dropped below a pre-specified limit. As a result of this finding, Sanofi Pasteur tested additional lots and found that three other lots that had been distributed also had an antigen content that was later measured to be below pre-specified limits.  This means that doses from these four vaccine lots no longer meet the manufacturer’s specifications for potency. Sanofi Pasteur has sent providers directions for returning any unused vaccine from these lots.

VACCINE DELIVERY IN MY HOMETOWN – SAN FRANCISCO

They came in droves, just after sunrise on December 22…San Francisco public health workers arrived at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium to find lines of anxious residents waiting for their H1N1 swine flu shots.

This vaccine clinic was billed by the San Francisco Chronicle as the largest vaccine clinic in the city’s recent history.

But even after 10 hours, 10,000 vaccinations and countless hysterical kids and pleading parents later, city workers were left trying to figure out what to do with an unexpected surplus of roughly 6,000 doses of the vaccine. (I love this photo of a nurse doing one of the things we excel in, providing comfort and support for those in need)

The demand is now less than the supply…at least for this Department of Public Health. The public it seems has developed a big case of Ho Hum…

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