First Doses of Swine flu Vaccine to Arrive on Tuesday

October 1, 2009

(ChattahBox)—U.S. health officials expect the first doses of swine flu vaccine to arrive on Tuesday to the states and communities that ordered it. The first vaccine shipment will be of the nasal spray variety and could be sprayed up patient’s noses, who fall in designated high-risk groups by the end of next week.

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the first shipment would consist of 600,000 doses of a nasal spray made by MedImmune, a division of AstraZeneca. The Tuesday delivery date is earlier than officials had predicted, which comes as good news for many anxious individuals in high-risk groups.

About 25 states, counties or cities which had placed the first orders for the H1N1 vaccine on Wednesday, would receive it on Tuesday.

The nasal spray is not intended for people 50 or older. It’s only approved for people 2 to 49-years old who do not have asthma.

The CDC is ordering flu vaccine from five different drugmakers and expects shipments of between 6 million and 7 million doses delivered to its central U.S. distributor sometime next week.

The swine flu vaccine couldn’t have arrived at a more opportune time. Schuchat said the swine flu was now widespread across the United States. “What we are seeing is quite striking,” she said. And it’s causing more severe complications among younger people than standard seasonal flu.

Schuchat said pregnant women are especially at risk. To date, 100 pregnant women have been hospitalized in intensive care with the swine flu virus and 28 had died. Schuchat is advising pregnant women to take advantage of the availability of the early shipments of the vaccine.

For those people who become infected with the swine flu, before having the opportunity to become vaccinated, the CDC has ordered 300,000 courses of liquid Tamiflu for children.

“So far each state that needs their proportion of that supply will receive this Tamiflu over the next week,” Schuchat said.

“People who have severe illness, who are hospitalized or have other warning signs can greatly benefit from antiviral medication,” Schuchat added.

The CDC says most people will recover from H1N1 virus with no treatment, but people who have trouble breathing, children who have trouble being awakened or who turn gray or blue, should all get immediate help.



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