Health Department Redistributes Existing Flu Vaccine Supplies
Limited Supply for 'Vaccines For Children' Program and Local Health Departments - State Continues to Await CDC Action on Millions of Doses Yet to Be Shipped
November 3, 2004 - State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., today announced the New York State Department of Health has begun distribution of its current supply of flu vaccine to help address the needs of local health departments and children served by a federal vaccination program.
It is critical to note that this redistribution applies only to the limited vaccine that has already been shipped to the New York State Department of Health for two specific purposes: the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program and to augment local health department supplies.
New York and the nation await a determination from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as to how the federal agency will distribute the 22.4 million doses of vaccine that has not yet been shipped from manufacturer Aventis Pasteur.
"The amount of vaccine we are shipping out today is helpful, but it is limited," Dr. Novello said. "The important thing to remember about the efforts of the CDC, the State and the counties is that the flu vaccine redistribution will continue over a period of months.
"If you are someone who is in a priority group for vaccination, please continue to seek a flu shot, but realize that you may need to be patient as well as persistent."
The majority of the vaccine being distributed by the State Health Department this week (42,000 doses) is earmarked for VFC providers. The federal VFC program serves children who are uninsured or underinsured, enrolled in Medicaid, or Native American.
In addition, more than 32,000 doses of flu vaccine are being shipped to local health departments. The number of doses allotted to each department was calculated through a population-based allocation formula devised in conjunction with the New York State Association of County Health Officials.
Local Health Departments will make decisions about use of the redistributed vaccine according to their particular circumstances. Some counties may provide vaccine to long term care facilities and other institutions that treat a large number of individuals at high risk. Others may offer vaccine to health care providers, for their high risk patients. Local health departments that intend to offer any of this redistributed vaccine to members of the general public will make an announcement through the media.
In all instances, the vaccine should be reserved for people who are in a vaccine priority group. These include:
- All children aged six months to 23 months;
- Adults who are 65 years and older;
- Anyone between the ages of two and 64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions;
- All women who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
- Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
- Children aged six months to 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy;
- Health-care workers involved in direct patient care; and
- Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children less than six months old.
"We are advising local health departments to implement a vaccine distribution plan based on their first-hand knowledge of the public health conditions in their area," Dr. Novello said. "This includes taking into consideration what is currently known about vaccines already received by providers in a county, and about CDC plans for future vaccine distribution. They will also be strictly adhering to the state and CDC guidelines for vaccination of high-priority individuals."
Although not everyone who wants a flu shot will be able to get one this year, Dr. Novello reminded New Yorkers that simple steps like washing your hands frequently and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze can help reduce transmission of the influenza virus. Eating properly, exercising and getting enough sleep will boost your immune system to fight disease. Staying home from work or school if you have flu symptoms will help you feel better sooner and reduce the chance of infecting others. For more information, visit the State Health Department's website at www.health.ny.gov
The vaccine allocation does not include the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which has received its own supply of redistributed flu vaccine from the CDC. Below is a list detailing the amount of flu vaccine distributed by the State Health Department to local health departments elsewhere throughout the state:
|Local Health Department||Total Doses|
|St. Lawrence County||380|