The swine flu campaign is officially underway as the swine flu vaccine is to be delivered today to health care workers -the first in line to receive the limited doses.
Hospital workers in Marion County, Indiana, and Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis will be the first to receive the AstraZeneca PLC’s nasal spray, reports Bloomberg.
Not all health care workers are onboard.
New York state has mandated workers in health care be vaccinated or lose their jobs, and Washington State workers at two hospitals are fighting a mandatory vaccination or face mask policy.
Handwashing is still considered one of the most effective ways to fight the spread of the flu virus.
Who Should Vaccinated?
Pregnant women are warned against receiving the live flu virus in the FluMist nasal spray. So are people with asthma and other breathing difficulties.
And individuals with an allergy to eggs also should not receive a shot as the vaccine is grown in eggs.
Older adults may have immunity to H1N1 because they’ve been exposed in the past and are asked to wait until there is more supply of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About 40 to 50 million vaccines should be shipped next week.
Five manufacturers have produced doses of the H1N1 vaccine and the U.S. government bought all supplies and is funneling distribution through the San Francisco-based McKesson Corp, which distributes drugs and medical supplies.
The five – GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Novartis AG, CSL Ltd, Sanofi Pasteur, and AstraZeneca have produced about 114 seasonal flu shots available and 251 does of swine flu for the U.S. The Department of Health and Human Services say 10 percent of the supply will be donated to poor countries.
The CDC says it is unlikely the H1N1 vaccine will be adjuvanted, that is have boosters added, which are controversial and not approved.
Thomas Frieden, head of the CDC says the H1N1 has not had time to mutate so the vaccine is more effective than the annual seasonal flu vaccine, which is given to about 100 million Americans annually.
So far about 600 U.S deaths, including 60 fatalities among children, have been reported since April. U.S. college campuses report 27,000 potential cases, as tracked by the American College Health Association. Worldwide, nearly 4,000 have died as h1N1 has spread to 191 countries.
Symptoms of the flu are cough, fever, sore throat, aches, and fatigue.
Not Everyone Onboard
Meanwhile, a Harvard School of Public Health poll finds 53 percent of U.S adults plan on getting a flu shot, while 41 percent say they won’t and six percent are unsure. The telephone survey talked to more than 1,000 individuals from September 14 through the 20th.
New York is the first state to mandate health care workers receive the vaccine and the CDC is considering a nationwide federal mandate for workers in the health care field to prevent the spread of the flu.
At a demonstration outside of Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta, New York, Gail Sloan, a RN tells Bloomberg, “I object to the government telling me what shots I’ve got to take,” said Gail Sloan, a registered nurse in the emergency room at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta, New York. “The vaccine has been pushed by drug companies and I don’t think it has been fully tested.”
In Seattle, 16,000 registered nurses and their union, the Washington State Nurses Association, has filed a federal lawsuit against MultiCare Health System for mandating a flu vaccination policy. Nurses have the option to wear face masks or face losing their jobs, reports KOMO News.
The policy is being implemented at Tacoma General and Good Samaritan hospitals. The union feels that any mandatory policy should be overseen by the state or federal government, not the hospitals on their own.
Because vaccines are not considered lucrative for drug makers, since the 1980s the government has encouraged production by offering protection to vaccine makers from lawsuits that result from any injuries. Last July, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the H1N1 makers will be protected as well.
Yet the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, (CIDRAP) estimates that 600 million doses at $10 a dose could cost about $6 billion, presumably some of that profit for drug makers. #