Littauer prepares for H1N1

Littauer prepares for H1N1

NLH Employees take flu season seriouslyShots of Health

By RODNEY MINOR, The Leader-Herald

First published in print: Sunday, September 20, 2009

Some people may need to get two flu shots this year. One for the seasonal flu and the other for the H1N1, the virus more widely known as swine flu.

Seasonal flu shots already are available in some places. Plans are being made for when and where inoculations of the separate H1N1 vaccine will be available.

The first cases of the H1N1 virus appeared in the U.S. in March and April, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By the end of April, the federal government had declared a public health emergency. Cases of H1N1 have since been reported in all 50 states.

Fulton County Public Health Director Denise Frederick said involved agencies in the state were still planning, as of Wednesday, on how the swine flu vaccine will be distributed to the public.

Karen Levison, the director of Hamilton County Public Health and Nursing Services, said the state has to wait for the CDC to release the vaccine. Each state will get a certain amount of the vaccine, which it will then determine how to distribute to the counties and what people take priority in getting it.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the new swine flu vaccine Tuesday. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the vaccine’s approval to Congress – and said she hopes to get the first limited supplies distributed early in October.

The bulk of vaccine will start arriving Oct. 15, and Sebelius said it should be available at 90,000 sites around the country. The government has ordered 195 million doses for now but may order more if needed, she said. Typically 100 million Americans seek the flu vaccine every year. Researchers have said one dose of the new swine flu vaccine looks strong enough to protect adults – and can begin protection within 10 days of the shot.

It is expected that pregnant women and children will take priority when it comes to who will be eligible to get the vaccine first. Levison said there has been some discussion of going through Obstetrician and Gynecologists to make sure pregnant women get the vaccine, which inoculates the unborn child as well.

Frederick said people who already have medical conditions compromising their health also will be high on the priority list. She said the people who have died of swine flu, similar to seasonal flu, normally have had some other condition compromising their health. The swine flu weakened their body to a point where it could no longer hold off the other problem.

Mary Constantino, family nurse practitioner and infection control officer at Nathan Littauer?Hospital in Gloversville, said those highest at risk for swine flu will be inoculated first. Continue reading “Littauer prepares for H1N1”