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25 Sites Will Offer Flu Doses Next Week

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, October 02, 2009 12:13 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Flu, Vaccinations, Thimerosal, Influenza, Swine Flu, Adjuvants

FluMist will be given to fight swine flu beginning next week. It contains some live flu virus.

Nasal Spray Available


IMAGE SOURCE: Flu View map from CDC

On Tuesday, four large cities and 21 states will begin delivering the nasal spray against swine flu – FluMist.

The delivery is just a trickle nd only 600,000 doses are available reports AP, and health care workers are likely among the first recipients, including Chicago firefighters and some emergency responders.

In Alaska, the first 4,000 doses of FluMist will go to preschoolers. Pennsylvania will make FluMist available to 58,000 5-to-9 year olds, the target age for infection. Those under the age of 10 may need two doses.

The swine flu, or H1N1 vaccine should be delivered in six to seven million doses by the end of next week according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

By mid-October, about 40 million doses should be shipped that will allow states to target the high-risk groups of pregnant women, children and young adults up to 24 years-old. Parents of newborns are being asked to be vaccinated in Pinellas County, Florida, since newborns cannot be.

Most people are being asked to take two different vaccinations – one against swine flu and the other for seasonal flu, although a recent study finds that some people over 60 are likely to posses greater immunity to the H1N1 swine flu, because of prior exposure.

The U.S. government bought the nation’s entire supply of swine flu vaccine from five manufacturers, Sanofi Pasteur, Novartis, GSK, Medimmune and CSL. The vaccine makers enjoy product liability offered by the federal government in case the vaccine formulations harms anyone.

The CDC reports that 26 states are reporting widespread influenza activity at this time. They are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington. Any reports of widespread influenza activity in September are very unusual. #

FluMist contains a live attenuated or weakened influenza virus (LAIV). It does not contain the mercury based preservative, thimerosal. Viruses for the LAIV and inactivated influenza, which is contained in the vaccine, are both grown in an egg base. People with allergies to eggs should not receive either.

Vaccine Safety 

The majority of vaccine will be in multi-dose vials, the remainder in single dose syringes or nasal sprayers. The aim is to have enough vaccine in single dose syringes (i.e. preservative free) for young children and pregnant women. Multi-dose vials must be preserved, generally with thimerosal. Thimerosal-free vaccine will be available in pre-loaded syringes for young children and pregnant women, according to the CDC.

The question of adjuvants, or vaccine boosters has been raised as a concern. Containing mercury, squalene, and aluminum, adjuvants have not been tested for safety by the FDA. Federal officials have ordered $700 million worth of adjuvant from Novartis and Glaxo in case the swine flu vaccine is not effective, reports the New York Times.

They would have to be combined with the vaccine before it is given but would not be used unless there is a so-called emergency use authorization.

The vaccines used for H1N1 appear to evoke a strong response on their own without adjuvants. #

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