Flu shots against the novel influenza A H1N1 virus should be available beginning Wednesday or Thursday and should be widely available by the end of the month, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today. And a recent review of hospitalizations from the new virus found that even healthy people and children are at risk for severe complications.
Injectable novel H1N1 vaccine began being shipped Sunday and Monday and should become available this week, said Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC. There were 9.8 million doses of novel H1N1 vaccine available, about half of which was injectable, and 5.8 million doses had been ordered so far by the states.
Were getting new orders every day and new allotments of vaccine, Dr. Schuchat said. Having the injectable form is important because the nasal formulation that was available first is only approved for healthy people ages 2 to 49. Richmond and Columbia county health departments began giving out the nasal form Monday to children ages 2 to 4, which the Georgia Division of Public Health decided should be the first priority group.
Dr. Schuchat said she expected the first shots to be given in the next day or two.
Week by week there will lots more vaccine coming, she said. You wont see it everywhere until later in the month.
She directed people to flu.gov for information on providers and Georgia public health has promised to post providers on its Web site when they become available.
An analysis of more than 1,400 hospitalized adults found that while most had underlying health conditions, notably asthma and other lung diseases, about 45 percent did not, Dr. Schuchat said.
I think it is sobering that some totally health people suffered this very rapid deterioration from the H1N1, she said.
She could not supply the same percentage for children but said healthy children are also at risk. There were five more pediatric deaths reported today but it was unclear if that included 10-year-old Summer Rockefeller, who Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said died from novel H1N1 complications in an Atlanta hospital on Saturday. That brings the total number of child deaths attributed to the new virus to 81. Most are thought to be in children with underlying health conditions.
However, this virus can be serious even in healthy people with no underlying conditions, Dr. Schuchat said.
Harlem Baptist Church is accepting donations on behalf of the family of 10-year-old Summer Rockefeller, who died Saturday from the novel influenza A H1N1 virus. You can send donations to the church at P.O. Box 790, Harlem, GA 30814