H1N1 vaccine arrives in Grand County
October 11, 2009
Grand County Public Health received the first doses of H1N1 flu vaccine this week. These initial doses will be used to protect health care workers who can protect themselves and their patients by getting the vaccine. The initial doses are a live, attenuated influenza vaccine or nasal mist that is recommended only for healthy, non-pregnant individuals, ages 2 through 49, with no underlying health conditions. Grand County Public Health is prioritizing along with our health care provider partners in the county to assure that the highest-risk populations receive the vaccine first. The high-priority groups remain: Pregnant women; household contacts of children under age 6 months; children, adolescents and young adults age 6 months to 25 years; and adults up to age 65 years if they have an underlying chronic illness that puts them at increased risk for complications of the flu. Within this group of individuals, the vaccine will first go to pregnant women; caregivers for infants under 6 months (because young children cannot receive the vaccine); other children under age 5; and individuals 5 to 18 years of age with chronic conditions, who seem to be having more difficulty dealing with the flu. “People should know that with just 50,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine arriving in the state this week, under federal guidance these are intended for health care workers,” said Dr. Ned Calonge from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. “The current priorities are intended to protect those who are more likely to die from the flu first, not those who are more likely to come into contact with it. The only exception is protection of those health care workers who provide direct patient care, who are necessary to assure we have personnel to provide care to the ill,” Calonge said. Grand County Public Health will continue to receive small amounts of the H1N1 vaccine into January 2010 and even beyond depending on the disease. The amounts released each week by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), will vary from week to week. Grand County Public Health has given approximately 700 doses of Seasonal flu vaccine to date and we expect the rest of our seasonal flu vaccine in November. Other health care providers in the county still have some seasonal vaccine available and will most likely receive more at a later date, according to Public Health nurses. There is not a shortage of seasonal flu vaccine, but it is delayed at this time. Grand County and the United States continue to report cases of H1N1 flu. At this time there is very little seasonal flu circulating in the nation. As the CDC and CDPHE release more H1N1 vaccine and the high-priority groups are vaccinated, Public Health will then begin vaccination of the general public with H1N1 flu vaccine. Eventually there will be enough vaccine for almost all citizens of Grand County to receive protection from H1N1 if they choose to do so. Grand County Public Health plans to update its website http://co.grand.co.us/publichealth.html and post information in the newspaper and on the radio as it plans for general public clinics. Remember to stay healthy during the flu season: Wash your hands often. Cover your cough. Stay home when you are sick.