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Delaware Health Alert Network #202

October 21, 2009 2:41 pm


Health Advisory
INFLUENZA VACCINE SUPPLY

A number of developments this week increased the demand for both H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine while also reducing supply. Those factors include:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously informed Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) that nearly 32,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine would arrive in Delaware this week from the federal government through various influenza vaccine manufacturers; however due to vaccine production delays with those manufacturers, the CDC now informs DPH only about 10,000 doses are now expected to arrive this week. While this slows the vaccine's distribution, it is only a delay, not a reduction in Delaware’s allotment.
  • Many health care providers have run out of seasonal flu vaccine, for which there has been higher than normal demand this year due to increased public awareness of flu illnesses.
  • Recent media coverage of the flu has spurred an increase in public demand for both H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine from health care providers and from the Division of Public Health (DPH).

DPH provides the following information and guidance regarding flu vaccinations:

H1N1 vaccine:

  • All pediatricians and family doctors who had requested H1N1 vaccine this week will still receive it, but in smaller quantities.
  • Because of these reduced quantities, DPH has temporarily narrowed the target population for H1N1 vaccine to those most at risk.
    • Pregnant women
    • People who live or care for children younger than 6 months of age
    • Children 6 months to 4 years of age
    • Children 5 to 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions
  • Quantity of vaccines will increase in coming weeks. By early November, H1N1 vaccines should be more widely available at health care providers, in clinics that will be conducted in schools, and in pharmacies. Delawareans are urged to receive H1N1 vaccine from their regular medical provider, and current vaccination efforts by medical providers should be directed at the narrowed target groups. Please note that the H1N1 vaccination from DPH will only be available to the priority populations described above. If those in the priority groups for H1N1 vaccines are unable to obtain it from their regular medical provider, they should call the following DPH offices to determine whether they qualify to receive the vaccine from DPH.
    • New Castle County
      Hudson State Service Center, by appointment only, call (302) 255-4555 for age 6 months and above
      Northeast State Service Center, by appointment only, call (302) 552-3600 for age 8 years and above
    • Kent County
      James Williams State Service Center, by appointment only, call (302) 857-5130 for ages 6 months and above
    • Sussex County
      Georgetown State Service Center, by appointment only, call (302) 856-5213 for ages 6 months and above
      Milford State Service Center, by appointment only, call (302) 424-7150 for ages 6 months and above.

Seasonal flu vaccine:

  • Because a number of doctor’s offices and health care providers have run out of seasonal flu vaccine, current DPH flu clinics must also narrow their priority populations.
  • For seasonal flu, the temporarily narrowed priority populations are individuals are:
    • Pregnant women
    • Children 6 months to 18 years of age
    • People any age with chronic conditions (lung, heart, diabetes, compromised immune systems)
    • People 65 or older
  • If UNINSURED patients in the targeted groups above for seasonal flu vaccines are unable to obtain it from their regular medical provider or a local pharmacy, they may qualify to receive the vaccine from DPH. Please note that the seasonal flu vaccination from DPH will only be available to UNINSURED priority populations. If those in the seasonal priority groups are unable to obtain vaccination from their regular medical provider or a local pharmacy, they should call the following DPH offices to determine whether they qualify to receive the vaccine from the DPH.
    • New Castle County
      Hudson State Service Center, by appointment only, call (302) 255-4555 for age 6 months and above
      Northeast State Service Center, by appointment only, call (302) 552-3600 for age 8 years old and above
    • Kent County
      James Williams State Service Center, by appointment only, call (302) 857-5130 for ages 6 months and above
    • Sussex County
      Georgetown State Service Center, by appointment only, call (302) 856-5213 for ages 6 months and above
      Milford State Service Center, by appointment only, call (302) 424-7150 for ages 6 months and above

Delaware's flu vaccine shortages are similar to situations being faced in other states based on high nationwide demand. CDC expects this to be temporary and to ease in coming weeks. In the meantime, it is important that the priority groups above (which are different for the two types of flu) be given access to what vaccine there is in Delaware.

Please continue to emphasize to patients the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.

The numbers above should be used to make appointments only. All other questions about influenza vaccine supplies and distribution should be directed to DPH’s Immunization Program at 1-800-282-8672.

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