Injectable vaccine on way to health agencies

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About 100,000 doses of injectable vaccine against the novel influenza A H1N1 virus went out to Georgia hospitals, with some scheduled to begin giving shots Wednesday, while another 100,000 doses are on the way next week, the Georgia Department of Community Health said. The state agency also launched a locator tool on its Web site to help people locate a vaccine provider in the community.

South Carolina providers are also receiving direct shipments of about 60,000 doses of the injectable vaccine, said a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The first 100,000 shots were sent directly to the Georgia hospitals by the distributor, McKesson Co., said Lisa Marie Shekell, spokeswoman for Community Health. The state has also received about 130,000 doses of live attenuated nasal vaccine against novel H1N1, with 54,800 going to public health departments and districts and 76,700 to private providers. The state is in the process of ordering another 106,700 doses of the injectable vaccine that is expected to come in next week, and that order will likely be split between public and private providers, Ms. Shekell said.

The injectable vaccine is expected to boost vaccination efforts against the new virus because it can be given to a wider range of the priority groups while the nasal vaccine that was available first can only be given to healthy people ages 2 to 49.

South Carolina signed up private providers to receive the H1N1 vaccine directly in addition to public health and so far the state has received 157,000 doses of both nasal and injectable vaccine, about 60 percent of which is the nasal kind, spokesman Jim Beasley said.

"I do know there is injectable vaccine in the hands of the DHEC health departments," he said. The state will begin scheduling clinics once a sufficient supply is in, "and we expect that to occur very soon," Mr. Beasley said. South Carolina is ordering vaccine as it becomes available, and that situation is "very dynamic," Mr. Beasley said. "It almost changes hourly."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said vaccine will roll out as soon as it is available, and it is expected to be more widely available by the end of the month.

Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics got 4,800 doses of injectable H1N1 vaccine Tuesday and plans to split it up -- 3,800 for high-risk patients and 1,000 for staff that work with high-risk patients, officials said.

The health system was scheduled to begin vaccinating patients and staff Wednesday, nurse epidemiologist Wanda Gillespie said. The health system is directing the first doses to high-risk patients, which also includes pregnant women, those who live with a child fewer than 6 months old, children 6 months to 24 years old and adults 25 to 64 years old with high-risk conditions like asthma and diabetes, she said. It will also vaccinate staff at high risk from the virus, such as pregnant women, and those who work with patients at high risk from the virus, which includes obstetrics, intensive care units, pediatrics, transplant, hematology/oncology and the Emergency Department, Mrs. Gillespie said.

University Hospital had not received its injectable vaccine and will not finalize plans on how it will be given out until officials see how much the hospital is getting, spokeswoman Erica Cline said.

Doctors Hospital has placed its order but has not received it yet, spokeswoman Anne Cordeiro said. The hospital is ordering just enough to vaccinate its staff, starting with those involved in direct patient care, she said.

Trinity Hospital of Augusta has not received its order yet, spokeswoman Rachel Covar said.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

LOOKING FOR THE VACCINE?

To locate a vaccine provider in Georgia, log on to http://health.state.ga.us/h1n1flu/.

Not all providers will have the vaccine, particularly at first, so residents should call first to confirm availability, Georgia Department of Community Health spokeswoman Lisa Marie Shekell said.

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soldout 10/15/09 - 03:15 pm
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As-yet-unpublished Canadian

As-yet-unpublished Canadian data raises concerns about whether it's a good idea to get a seasonal flu shot.

A series of studies suggests that people who got a seasonal flu shot last year are about twice as likely to catch swine flu as people who didn't.

Journals bar would-be authors from discussing their results publicly before they go through peer review, but the findings have been a poorly kept secret and many in the public health community in Canada have heard about them

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