For immediate release:
October 16, 2009
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health was alerted Thursday that vaccine manufacturers are experiencing ongoing delays in the production of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) confirmed today that states will not be receiving vaccine shipments – in the amounts that have been expected – as early as expected.
“We know flu is here – and vaccine for both the regular flu and the new H1N1 flu is coming into the state, but more slowly that we had hoped and planned for,” said Health Commissioner Wendy Davis, MD. “We are working with our many partners to adjust our vaccination plans so we can move vaccine as quickly as possible to those who need it the most.”
Right now, the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus is the predominant type of flu circulating nationwide. This week the Vermont Department of Health reported an increase in influenza activity, especially in the southwest and northwest portions of the state.
Flu activity in Vermont is now characterized as regional, while most other states are experiencing widespread flu activity.
“It’s more important than ever to take the everyday actions that can truly help keep illness from spreading,” said Dr. Davis. “Wash your hands often and well, cover your cough when you cough or sneeze, stay home from work or school and away from others when you are sick – for at least 24 hours after your fever has gone.”
There are two flu vaccines recommended this season.Vaccine for the seasonal flu is recommended – as soon as it’s available – for nearly everyone 6 months and older, but especially for the very young, the very old, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions.
As soon as vaccine for the new H1N1 flu is available, it will go first to people who could be most seriously affected if they become ill:
- Pregnant women
- Caregivers and household contacts of children under 6 months
- Anyone age 6 months through 24 years
- Health care workers and emergency medical services personnel
- Adults age 25 through 64 who have chronic medical conditions such as asthma, chronic heart, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, compromised immune systems due to disease or treatment, or neuromuscular conditions
The vaccine production delays are not safety related. The vaccine will continue to go through all the normal testing and FDA clearances, and will be shipped to states as soon as it is available.
Extensive information, tools and resources about seasonal and pandemic flu, healthy habits and preparedness are available at the Health Department’s website: healthvermont.gov or dial 2-1-1. You can also follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/healthvermont.