Limited supplies of H1N1 vaccine coming
Leavenworth County is expecting to receive its first batch of vaccines for the H1N1 influenza A virus soon, but officials say quantities are going to be too limited for the general public.
Heather Morgan, county administrator, said the initial shipment of the vaccine from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment would be targeted for specific groups in the county.
“Because early supplies will be very limited, the Leavenworth County Health Department is following KDHE’s strong recommendation that initial vaccine be prioritized for healthcare workers with direct patient contact and healthy children between the ages of 2-9 years,” Morgan said.
The KDHE’s list of priority groups are: Pregnant women, household contacts and caregivers of infants younger than 6 months, all children and young adults ages 6 months through 24 years, healthcare personnel and finally people aged 25-64 years with high-risk medical conditions.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the KDHE lists pregnant women at the top of the priority list “because they are at higher risk of complications and can potentially provide protection to infants who cannot be vaccinated.” But Morgan said the nasal-spray type live attenuated influenza virus vaccine, or LAIV, which the county will be receiving in the first shipment, is not recommended for pregnant women. Pregnant women will be able to get the vaccine when the inactive injectable version is available.
The KDHE reports that each week they will allocate each county its share of the vaccine based on 2008 population census data of people up to 24 years old. After the demand for those priority groups are met, allocations of the vaccine will be available to counties based on their total population.
Morgan said once enough of the vaccine is available officials will be making future announcements on how the vaccine will be distributed publicly or through a private provider.
Morgan said the county ordered its entire first-week allotment of 400 doses of the LAIV. She said the nasal-spray vaccine is only approved for “people from 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant and do not have certain health conditions.”
Morgan said the conditions include: anyone with a weakened immune system; anyone with a long-term health problem such as heart disease, kidney or liver disease, lung disease, metabolic disease such as diabetes, asthma, anemia and other blood disorders; children younger than 5 years with asthma or one or more episodes of wheezing during the past year; anyone with certain muscle or nerve disorders (such as cerebral palsy) that can lead to breathing or swallowing problems; anyone in close contact with a person with a severely weakened immune system (requiring care in a protected environment, such as a bone marrow transplant unit); children or adolescents on long-term aspirin treatment.
Morgan said the county would be contacting the people in the priority groups.
On Oct. 1, the Leavenworth County Commissioners unanimously voted to accept the H1N1 emergency preparedness phase I and phase II contract that will give the county about $120,000 of about $300,000 in federal money to help the county respond to H1N1.
Morgan said the money will help pay for things such as public information, overtime pay and any cost the county will get for distributing the vaccine.
“We don’t do this every day so we are going to incur extra cost so that money is to offset the additional cost we are going to have to make sure everyone gets vaccinated,” Morgan said.
Any information or updates on the H1N1 vaccine distribution will be available at the county’s Web site: www.leavenworthcounty.org.