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Delaware Health Alert Network #85

October 12, 2004 5:40 pm

Health Advisory

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is providing the following message from CDC as information for the Delaware Medical community. In addition, the following should be noted:

  • Based on information available today, in addition to vaccine that may be shipped directly to hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other health care providers, DPH expects to receive nearly 15,000 doses of vaccines in the next 6-8 weeks for public clinics, some of which will augment the current amount available for Vaccine For Children (VFC) providers. Additional vaccine may be forthcoming during CDC's second phase of distribution.
  • Health care providers should generally anticipate less influenza vaccine than ordered. Therefore DPH urges all providers to prioritize high risk patients for vaccination. The definition of high risk can be found at this web address.
  • DPH vaccination clinics will be scheduled as soon as the number of doses of vaccine and when they will be received by DPH is confirmed. These clinics will be announced publicly.
  • Distribution of vaccine for VFC providers, while limited, will occur shortly. Specific information will be sent to VFC providers as soon as details are confirmed.

Additional activities under way by DPH are the following:

  • Monitoring of vaccine supplies - DPH is working with the Medical Society of Delaware, the Delaware Healthcare Association, Delaware Health Care Facilities Association and the Delaware Immunization Coalition to evaluate current and future supplies. An assessment of the amount of vaccine in Delaware will assist DPH to (1) provide information to CDC to justify additional vaccine allocations, and (2) adjust to changes in vaccine need based on the distribution of high risk populations in Delaware and the occurrence of influenza-like illness.

    Please note that DPH has no intention of pooling vaccine distributed to hospitals, long term care facilities, private providers and similar facilities. DPH is interested in assuring that every dose of vaccine is used and wishes to work cooperatively with health care providers to move otherwise unused vaccine to those areas of the state where needed for people who are at high risk for the complications of influenza.
  • Monitoring influenza and influenza-like illness - Anticipating that some high risk people will not be vaccinated this influenza season, DPH is developing enhanced surveillance activities to provide information to health care providers about the occurrence of influenza in Delaware as early as possible. Early notification can be used by providers to determine the appropriateness of anti-viral medication for patients with influenza-like symptoms.
  • Public Information - DPH is encouraging the public to use other measures to prevent the spread of influenza, such as (1) avoiding close contact with others and staying at home when ill with influenza-like symptoms, (2) washing hands often, (3)covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and (4) avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth. DPH is also advising the public about the availability of vaccine and will release clinic schedules when available.
  • DPH is urging Delaware health care providers to vaccinate only patients who are at high risk of the complications from influenza.

This is an official
CDC HAN Info Service Message

Distributed via the HAN Info Service
October 12, 2004, 13:40 EDT (1:40 PM EDT)

CDC, Aventis Pasteur Announce Allocation Plan to Address Influenza Vaccine Shortages

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Aventis Pasteur announced today the first phase of the plan to allocate influenza vaccine in response to the recently announced loss of half of the nation’s expected flu vaccine supply for the 2004-2005 season. The plan, announced by CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding and Aventis Pasteur US President Damian Braga, calls for CDC to work closely with Aventis to distribute in phases 22.4 million doses of unshipped vaccine to identified areas of need throughout the country.

Beginning immediately, about 14.2 million doses of vaccine will be allocated over the next 6-8 weeks through Aventis Pasteur contracts directly to high-priority vaccine providers, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and private providers who care for young children.

"This plan will help ensure that vaccine gets to those people who need it most," said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. "This is a troubling, frustrating situation for all of us and we need for all Americans to pull together in the weeks to come to meet this challenge head on. This plan is the result of unprecedented collaboration between CDC, Aventis Pasteur, and state and local health departments across the country. And we must not forget the other public health heroes on the front lines in grocery stores, pharmacies, and health clinics working to prioritize vaccine."

CDC will continue to work with Aventis Pasteur and state and local health departments to identify people, by region, on the vaccination priority list. The approximately 8.2 million doses remaining after the first phase is completed will be shipped to other high-need areas.

"Since Dr. Gerberding contacted us last week, we at Aventis Pasteur have worked with the CDC around the clock to tackle the complex task of getting millions of doses of influenza vaccine to thousands of health care providers around the country. Our goal has been to direct remaining doses as quickly as possible to those areas where large numbers of at-risk individuals are in need," said Damian Braga, president, Aventis Pasteur US. "It is a huge logistical feat and we are proud to have contributed our knowledge and expertise to this plan."

Last week CDC announced priority groups for vaccination with inactivated influenza vaccine for the 2004-2005 influenza season:

  • all children aged 6-23 months,
  • adults aged 65 years and older,
  • persons aged 2-64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions,
  • all women who will be pregnant during influenza season,
  • residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities,
  • children 6 months-18 years of age on chronic aspirin therapy,
  • health-care workers with direct patient care, and
  • out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children aged <6 months.

Influenza season typically peaks in the United States between December and March. Because each season is unpredictable, it’s not known how severe the 2004-2005 season might be.

Although vaccination is the best protection against influenza, everyone can take practical steps to help prevent spread of flu, such as avoiding close contact with people who are sick and keeping your distance from others if you’re sick; when possible, staying home from work, school, and errands when you are sick; covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and cleaning your hands often.

For more information about the flu and this year’s recommendations, visit the CDC Website at :
Contact: CDC, Division of Media Relations (404) 639-3286

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.

##This Message was distributed to State Health Officers, Public Information Officers, Laboratory Directors, Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinators, Epidemiologists and HAN Coordinators as well as Association and Clinician organizations##

The HAN Info Service is utilized by the CDC's Health Alert Network to distribute general correspondence from CDC which is not necessarily considered to be of an emergent nature.

Questions about this health advisory can be directed to DPH, Bureau of Epidemiology at 1-888-295-5156. The number is available during normal business hours and during non-business hours for emergencies.

Categories of Health Alert messages:

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
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