CDC and States Announce Plan to Distribute 10.3 Million Flu Shots Nationwide; Public Health Officials Call Allocation Fair and Aimed at Most Vulnerable Americans

Working closely with public health officials nationwide, the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced plans to distribute

the remaining 10.3 million doses of Aventis Pasteur influenza vaccine to

state health departments, which will then help ensure the doses reach

those people at highest risk for complications from influenza. The

vaccine will be distributed over several weeks through December and into

January.

 

"The work by our colleagues in state and local health departments across

the country that has gone into developing this plan has been absolutely

extraordinary," said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding.  "We're doing

everything possible to ensure that vaccine is distributed in a fair way

and that it goes to those who need it most."

 

Under the plan outlined today, states and territories will be receiving

100 percent of any orders they had originally placed under federal,

state, and multi-state contracts.  Overall, this accounts for 3.1

million doses of vaccine.  The distribution plan for the 7.2 million

doses takes into account three things:

1) the number of high-priority

individuals in the state,

2) the number of doses the state has already

received and

3) the state's unmet needs. In the coming weeks, another

1.2 million doses of pediatric will be allocated to states using the

same approach.

 

"The allocation plan announced today, designed to get vaccine to those

individuals in greatest need of protection, demonstrates once again the

critical role the federal, state, and local governmental public health

system, working with the nation's health care providers, can play in

protecting the public," said Richard A. Raymond, MD, president of the

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and chief

medical officer, Nebraska Health and Human Services System. "While all

of the nation's vaccine needs will not be met, this system is fair and

will assure that remaining doses of vaccine get to those most in need."

 

"We support the influenza vaccine allocation method outlined today. It

is the best available solution for getting the remaining vaccine to the

persons who need it most," said Patrick M. Libbey, executive director,

National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). "The

nation's local public health departments will continue to assist their

communities and their state health departments in every way possible to

protect the public's health during this period of flu vaccine shortage."

 

Vaccine manufacturer Aventis Pasteur had already shipped 33 million of

its expected total 58 million vaccine doses prior to Chiron

Corporation's Oct. 5 announcement. The remaining 25 million doses have

been allocated at a rate of about 3 million doses per week - or about 14

million doses - since Oct. 11, under a joint distribution plan developed

by CDC and Aventis. The vaccine has gone to state public health

departments, the Department of Veterans Affairs, long-term care

facilities/acute care hospitals, Vaccines for Children program

providers, private physicians who care for young children, HMOs and

private providers serving high-priority groups.  The plan announced

Tuesday will allocate the remaining 7.2 million influenza vaccine doses.

 

This year's expected vaccine supply also includes 3 million doses of

FluMist, which is approved for use by healthy people between the ages of

5 and 49. In addition, CDC is continuing to work with HHS and the Food

and Drug Administration (FDA) on the possibility of obtaining several

million doses of foreign-produced influenza vaccine for use in the

United States this influenza season.  These vaccines are not currently

licensed for use in the U.S., but if deemed safe by the FDA, could be

used under an "investigational new drug" protocol that meets FDA

requirements.  To ensure the safety of this flu vaccine, FDA inspectors

are visiting the overseas plants of these manufacturers.

 

In addition, a supply of antiviral drugs to treat influenza will be

available this flu season. Supplies of antiviral drugs are available

through private health providers and the federal government has

purchased a stockpile of antiviral drugs to treat more than 7 million

people. FDA has estimated that approximately 40 million people could be

treated this flu season with the antiviral drugs available.

 

To provide more information to healthcare professionals and the public

about influenza and influenza vaccine, CDC has launched 1-800-CDC-INFO,

a new 24/7 central telephone hotline available in English and Spanish.

This number will enable people to obtain information from CDC. The

number for the hearing impaired is 1-800-243-7889 (TTY/TDD).

 

"We are excited to be able to provide a new information hotline that

will help people, including health care providers, to get answers about

the influenza vaccine and at a later time, a wide range of health and

disease-related questions," said Gerberding.  "We encourage people

to call this number for information about the flu and this year's flu

season or to report when they cannot find vaccine in their communities."

 

 

Any information CDC receives about problems in finding influenza vaccine

will be shared with state health officials to help them direct the

available vaccine to people and places where it's needed most. 

 

Callers to the hotline can choose to hear voice messages on a variety of

flu-related topics. Every caller has the option to transfer to a live

person who can provide more information.

Health care providers can also call the number to report cases of

influenza or flu-like illness in their community.  

 

For more information about the flu, visit the CDC Website:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu <http://www.cdc.gov/flu/>  or call

1-800-CDC-INFO.

 

Source: CDC

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