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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
"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
3) the state's unmet needs. In the coming weeks, another
1.2 million doses of pediatric will be allocated to states using the
"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