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.