Friday, October 30, 2009

Are you in a priority group and worried because you can't get vaccine?

from this week's update on H1N1 in Maine:

H1N1 Vaccine Supply and Prioritization

As of October 28, a total of 99,000 doses of vaccine had been allocated to the state, which is about 14% of the total amount of vaccine needed for prioritized populations in the state. Vaccine is continuing to be shipped as soon as it is allocated. However, it is possible that there will not be sufficient supplies of vaccine for some of the highest priority people until December.

Maine CDC is developing short-term plans, which are constantly being reevaluated, based on the supply of vaccine being allocated to us from the federal government. Vaccine is being sent out in response to several factors, including current trends in infections, prioritized populations, and the supply available. Every county in the state has received some vaccine, and will continue to receive it as it is available.

Less than 2% of the vaccine that has arrived to date is in the formulation most frequently requested for children under age three. About a third of the vaccine that has arrived is in the nasal spray form, which cannot be given to many people in the priority populations, but can be administered to healthy children over the age of two.

We are focusing our first doses on children and pregnant women, because they are the most disproportionately affected by H1N1. We are providing some vaccine to pediatric providers for very young children, household members of children under six months old, and some high-risk children. Most of our vaccine is going to schools.

Vaccine clinics for school children have been held in the Sanford/Springvale, greater Portland, Lewiston, Augusta, and Bangor areas, as well as in Passamaquoddy Indian Township in the past week. Vaccinating children, who are the major transmitters of flu, provides some protection to the entire community.

As more vaccine arrives, we will broaden our distribution to other high risk groups, including young adults, people with health conditions, and health care and emergency services personnel. Once the full supply of vaccine has arrived, we plan to offer it to anyone who wants it.

In the mean time, people in priority groups who do not have access to vaccine yet can take some steps to protect themselves:
* If vaccine is appropriately available to other members of the household (for instance, children who can be vaccinated in their school), then this is one way to provide some protection to a high-risk individual.
* If you can get a seasonal flu vaccine (which is also in short supply in many areas), do so. The seasonal flu vaccine will not protect you from H1N1, but by protecting you from seasonal flu, it will keep you from getting run down and therefore being more likely to get H1N1.
* Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Wash or sanitize your hands often.
* Keep checking the clinic locator on our web site:
* Your health care provider may prescribe antiviral medicine if someone in the household is sick with a fever plus cough and/or sore throat and the sick person, or a household member, meets one or more of these criteria:
* Younger than 2 years-old
* Older than 64 years-old
* Pregnant
* Has an underlying medical condition
These antiviral prescription medicines (Tamiflu or Relenza) may help reduce the severity of the flu.

To read the full update:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your strategy seems to be focused on preventing transmission when what it SHOULD be focused on is preventing death. The national CDC's priority list is quite clear: individuals at high risk of death due to underlying health issues take priority over healthy individuals, but you are not following that protocol. Giving vaccine to the school systems rather than the healthcare providers means that THOUSANDS of people at high risk for death are omitted--for example, any child not yet in school (LIKE MY DIABETIC SON!!!!) and young adults who have graduated high school but haven't gone to college. So in essence you're shooting to limit transmission when the real risk is not being sick, but dying because of complications of an underlying condition. This is REALLY shitty risk management if you ask me, and if my son winds up hospitalized with H1N1 because my frantic efforts to get him vaccinated have been circumvented by your bad planning, you can be sure I'm going to be pretty seriously pissed off. Heck, I'm already pissed off. I've been trying for weeks to find vaccine for this child and I'm hampered at every turn by your stupid, misguided and poorly considered decision.