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H1N1 Vaccine Update from Multnomah County

Multnomah County wanted to be sure to relay the most recent information possible regarding the H1N1 vaccine clinics, so they emailed:

Oregon vaccine planners as recently as late September were anticipating initial shipments to be small and then ramp up through the end of October, reaching a point where the vaccine would be widely available to the public through multiple channels.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control announced that unexpectedly low yields from vaccine manufacturers were delaying the roll-out of larger vaccine batches. Vaccine shipments have been at a steady trickle since Oct. 5, with roughly 6,000 to 12,000 doses arriving in Multnomah County each week.

Facing lower initial shipments of H1N1 flu vaccine, the Multnomah County Health Department will focus vaccine that becomes available on two groups at higher risk for flu complications: pregnant women and children under 5.

The county only expects to receive 6,000 doses this week (October 26). There are an estimated 14,000 pregnant women in Multnomah County and an estimated 48,800 children under age 5.

Pregnant women have been hospitalized at five times the rate of the general population; the rate for children under 5 has been 45 percent higher than the general population. The data reflect admissions since September 1 in Multnomah County and are in line with national figures.

Health officials are now making decisions weekly about vaccinations, considering local data and where a limited supply of vaccine can do the most good.  With vaccine continuing to be in short supply, the Multnomah County Health Department has decided to reduce the number of public vaccination sites until vaccine becomes more readily available.

Future vaccination sites will be posted on the county's website, www.mchealth.org. The State of Oregon Flu Hot Line is also a resource to help people determine where they can get a flu shot: 1-800-978-3040

The Health Department also is in charge of distributing vaccines to private medical practices that have asked to be vaccine providers. The department, rather than distribute the vaccine across the board, is placing an emphasis on filling orders placed by obstetricians and pediatricians.

Our Health Department is coordinating with other Health Departments in the region as well as the state to ensure that information is made available to the public as quickly and accurately as possible.  Please visit our website, the state of Oregon's Flu website, and the Center for Disease Control's flu website  for valuable information and resources.

Comments

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That is just fantastic. So I wonder what will be the selection criteria for who gets the shot or not? Pregnant women and families with small children and babies have already been hit hard with the "regular flu,", colds and croup. My 18 month old has been sick on and off since the beginning of Sept!. We do not need the fear of another illness and the lack of prevention to cause more stress, mental and physical. Who is at fault? What about the 14,000 plus new babies that will be out and about soon? I am not even going to try to get my son vaccinated. If need be we will be inside this winter--insane!

Thanks for the update. My daughter is under 5 and has asthma so hopefully we'll be able to get her the vaccine soon. From what I understand, the mist is the only one available so far (the shots take longer to produce for some reason). Unfortunately people with asthma can't do the mist. We'll probably be waiting a while for the shot. It's frustrating, but I do think everyone (CDC included) is really trying.

The criteria at our pediatrician's clinic (per the county health office) is children under 5 and pregnant women only (those are the only people able to get the vaccine at this time).

I think it truly isn't anyone's fault. To make flu vaccines requires growing the virus in an egg, and this novel strain has been much slower to grow than the strains they are used to. It seems as though no one anticipated that possibility.

Molomatic, The mist is not approved for pregnant women or children under two. If only the mist was available, the only people in the new high risk criteria that could be vaccinated would be children between the ages of two and four. That doesn't sound right. At the last community clinic, they had plenty in injected form.

Thank you for posting this update. As I write this, my middle schooler is absent from school for her second day in a row, with what I suspect is H1N1. She was fine Sunday night (swam a couple of miles at her team's practice) and woke up Monday feeling rotten.

Her middle school (6-8 grades) is experiencing a minimum 25% absentee rate per day due to illness.

I was under the misimpression that, in order for it to be the flu, the ill person had to have a fever. However, I see from reading more at the CDC website this morning, not all who have H1N1 will have a fever. Unfortunately, my child has every other symptom aside from fever and the GI issues.

The Multnomah County Health Clinic at 426 SW Stark has walk-in clinic hours today, Tuesday, from 1-4:30 for children under 5. My son is 2 and received both the seasonal and H1N1 shots.

If you go to http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/ you'll see that the vast majority of flu cases now are H1N1. There really isn't much "regular flu" going around. So if your kids have already had the flu, chances are it was H1N1.

This vaccine comes too late for our family as well. My 6 year old had it two weeks ago and gave it to me and my husband. The pediatrician put my 3 month old on Tamiflu as a result. So far she is symptom free, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Two weeks ago 11 out of 27 kids in my son's class were out with it. By the time they get the vaccine in it seems as if nearly every kid in my son's school will have had it already. Frustrating.

Anon, thanks for letting me know people were getting the actual H1N1 shot for the vaccine. When I called Multnomah county last week they said they only had the mist. I'll try again.

My family all had it last month. And it wasn't that bad, we were just sick. We felt sick, we stayed home, we rested, we got better in a week.
What's all the hype?

I imagine that parents of children who have died from it or been severely ill might see things differently. Good for you, though!

KT, some people have responded better than others to the virus. I am sure that if everyone would have a reaction like your family, there would be a lot less hype about it. However, my 8 year old nephew went to the ER twice for breathing issues and he doesn't even have asthma.

KT, did you actually get tested for H1N1? Some people do indeed have more mild reactions.

My asthmatic preschooler has it right now and she's currently on 4 asthma medications to keep it under control (she usually only takes 1). We are praying to keep her out the ER.

I guess there's a couple of ways to look at a mild case of it. You could say my experience was mild, and thank God my family has been so fortunate. Or you could say my case was mild, so what is everyone else complaining about?

Having been a 4 year reader of the uM website, even after moving to Sweden about 1.5 years ago, I must say that I am a little bit surprised by the general acceptance of the H1N1 vaccine by the posters on this site. Being one who has defended vaccinations on this site several times in the past, I am happy to see it.

But, interestingly enough, I find myself on the opposite side of the vaccination fence here in Sweden. So I come to you to start discussion. Swedish citizens are not being offered the same vaccine as the US. Here in Sweden it is Pandemrix, an adjuvant vaccine containing squalene and vitamin E (AS03). An adjuvant that has previously not be used in mass vaccines (unlike a similar one MF59). These vaccines also contain thimerisol as a perservative as does the one in the US (unless requested). Here in Sweden, a mass vaccination campaign has begun...and in fact, more persons have been vaccinated than infected (something like 1778 cases and over 1.5 million doses of vaccine administered - this is the benefit, you see, of using a vaccine which requires less virus to make....this is the problem for the shortfall in the US). Also of note, the US has not licensed any vax containing squalene to this point in time, only those with the adjuvant alumimum (such as Gardasil).

How would you feel about the vax if you knew the only option contained the adjuvant and thimerosol? What about for yourself? Your children? Or if you were pregnant?? Given the number of families which have had H1N1 and gotten over it just fine? Would you feel that the benefit of the vaccine justified the risks???

cmom, how did you find out about that clinic on Tuesday? There's no information on the Multnomah County site.

I totally understand the delays in production, but what I don't understand are the huge gaps in 'official' communication.

I'm pregnant and my midwife's office JUST received the H1N1 shots - I was lucky to get one today. I'm not usually a worrier about these kinds of illnesses, but the rate at which the virus is affecting and killing pregnant women scared me enough to get the shot.

To Rebecca,
I'm 38 and pregnant and not going to risk complications due to any flu based on questions people have about the risks of vaccinating. I'm sure all of my childhood vaccinations had the perhaps nasty toxins in them, and I don't think one more will make a difference.

In general I don't get flu vaccines because I'm not usually at risk for complications, but this year my family and I will all get them. I've decided to vaccinate my kids selectively, as the large array if you don't select is a little creepy to me. If there were an option available in vaccines that has less questions about safety, I would choose it. But I wouldn't forgo all vaccinations altogether, as it would limit what my child could later choose in travel or profession, as well as risking illness, and risk illness to the community. I know we don't know all the effects of vaccine ingredients, but we also have other toxins in our systems that could just as well be causing problems (but have no benefit).

Last year an older relative ended up in the hospital with an early flu (it was just before she would have gotten her shot) and it was a $125,000 week of serious illness (for which insurance was trying to get her to pay 20%). Other cases like this are avoided when certain people get these vaccines when available. I also read an article about a child with cancer who can't go to a daycare that has unvaccinated children. Heartbreaking enough with adding that complication.

A very sobering perspective, and perhaps the story keenbeen was referring to:

"A Pox on You.
My son has cancer. He can't go into day care because of unvaccinated children."

http://www.slate.com/id/2232977/

This article from November's Atlantic Monthly, "Does the Vaccine Matter?," is well worth ten minutes. All about flu vaccine research and the big questions that remain:

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200911/brownlee-h1n1

mindy...what a great article. thanks for the link.

To me, this is the difference between the seasonal flu and H1N1. I am planning on getting my kids vaccinated as soon as it is available.
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=106773

Fembot, I called pretty much every County Health Clinic to finally get the number for the immunization clinic for children. The number is 503-988-3828, they have an automated message but I was fortunate to speak to someone last Monday. Good luck!

I like Atlantic Monthly and appreciate their raising the issue for the general public. In this case they've focused on the issue of deaths from the flu, not health complications. I think death is an issue that needs to be considered in the public policy on vaccination, however it isn't the only one. There are many people affected by complications due to flu, and it is a burden on the healthcare system, and I'm sure it weakens the overall health of the elderly and others with weakened systems, even if people don't die. Although it is hard to quantify how many health complication cases are averted or reduced in severity by flu vaccination, as is pointed out by other experts in the article, it is the best tool we have, and it would be unethical to not offer and utilize it. Although it is pointed out that probably only the healthiest have a robust response to the vaccination, it doesn't say that the weaker have no response. I still think that it is important for people at high risk of spreading the virus, or of complications if they contract it, to get vaccinations. I've always heard that flu shots reduce the chance of contracting the flu, not completely eradicating the risk.

We got ours at the Kaiser clinic this morning. They are doing pregnant women, those in contact with babies 6 mos/under, and healthcare workers. I got the impression that if you have a health issue that would suffer from complications due to flu, you can get one through an app't with your primary care doctor.

I know a mom of a newborn whose preschool daughter and husband have to stay at a hotel now until the preschoolers fever has subsided for 24 hours. She's very lonely for her family and a little freaked out (since contagion is 24 hrs prior to symptoms)!

My husband, myself and my three year old all got vaccinated at the Kaiser clinic at East Interstate today and I got the distinct impression that they have a very limited supply. We are eligible because my son is three months old. Several people got turned away during the few minutes we were filling out paperwork. And Kaiser is already out of the injectable vaccine so we all got the Flumist. I feel fine so far, hopefully we won't have side effects. I am surprised how relieved I feel to be vaccinated.

I heard they are having a clinic at Mt. Hood Community College this weekend while supplies last. I saw it on the state flu shot locator website. In the meantime, everyone we know who has Kaiser seems to have gotten their shot already.

Kaiser has been getting shipments daily of vaccine. My two year old son, asthmatic, received the injectable vaccine last night. We didn't have to wait in line AND he didn't cry. Great H1N1 vaccination experience.

If anyone is still looking for H1N1 vaccine, FYI we got it easily from a Clark County clinic last week. Because I am pregnant, they put me in an express line and it went so quickly. I received a single-dose mercury free shot and my 3-year-old son got the mist. The priority groups as listed on the website are pretty broad and talking to someone I know who was working it, it seemed pretty easy to get if you were not picky about mist vs. shot (providing you are a suitable candidate for whatever version of course). There is a clinic tomorrow (Nov. 28) at the Vancouver Mall, upstairs across from the food court.
http://www.co.clark.wa.us/h1n1/clarkcounty.html

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