NACCHO to donate up to one million doses of FluMist
After a break of almost a year bird flu has appeared again in China. This latest outbreak has claimed the life of a young woman in eastern China and a young girl in the north of the country remains critically ill. Chinese Health officials say the 27-year-old woman, Zhang, from Jinan, the capital of Shandong
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The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has announced a donation of up to one million doses of FluMist (Influenza Virus Vaccine Live, Intranasal) by MedImmune in a partnership aimed at increasing influenza awareness and vaccinations in underserved communities and populations.
NACCHO will make these donated doses of vaccine available to selected state and local health departments around the country starting this month. This joint NACCHO-MedImmune effort supports the goal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to broaden the influenza vaccination season into December and beyond. The CDC has launched National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 8-12) as a springboard to help educate the public on the importance of influenza vaccination throughout the winter. Vaccination rates typically decline after Thanksgiving, although the peak of influenza season usually occurs in February and March.
“NACCHO is pleased to partner with MedImmune to help increase the number of individuals vaccinated against influenza,” said NACCHO President Gary Cox, J.D. “These doses of vaccine will go a long way to support a national objective of immunizing all persons who should receive flu vaccine, especially those who are least able to afford it.”
Public health guidelines on annual influenza vaccination are broader than ever before. In February 2008, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to expand pediatric influenza vaccination recommendations to include school-age children ages 5 through 18 years. The expanded recommendations add 30 million children to the recommended pediatric population for annual influenza vaccination. In addition to influenza vaccination recommendations for specific populations (http://www.cdc.gov/flu), the CDC recommends that anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting influenza or spreading it to others get vaccinated every year.
“We are proud to support NACCHO’s objective of increasing flu vaccination rates across the country,” stated Brian Rosen, MedImmune’s senior director, government relations. “We at MedImmune take great pride in knowing this donation may help protect up to one million more eligible men, women, and children against influenza, and educate them about the importance of protecting themselves and their families against influenza.”
FluMist is a live attenuated influenza virus vaccine indicated for active immunization of individuals two to 49 years of age against influenza disease caused by influenza virus subtypes A and type B contained in the vaccine.
FluMist is contraindicated in individuals with history of hypersensitivity to eggs, egg proteins, gentamicin, gelatin or arginine or with life-threatening reactions to previous influenza vaccinations, and in children and adolescents receiving concomitant aspirin or aspirin-containing therapy.
Do not administer FluMist to children less than two years of age due to an increased risk of hospitalization and wheezing that was observed in clinical trials. FluMist should not be administered to any individual with asthma and to children less than five years of age with recurrent wheezing unless the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk. Do not administer FluMist to individuals with severe asthma or active wheezing.
If Guillain-Barre syndrome has occurred with prior influenza vaccination or if an individual is immunocompromised, the decision to give FluMist should be based on careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks. FluMist should not be administered to individuals with underlying medical conditions predisposing them to wild-type influenza infection complications unless the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk. FluMist should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.
Most common adverse reactions (occurring in 10 percent or more of individuals receiving FluMist and at a rate at least five percent higher than in those receiving placebo) are runny nose or nasal congestion in recipients of all ages, fever more than 100 degrees F in children two to six years of age, and sore throat in adults.
FluMist may not protect all individuals receiving the vaccine. FluMist is for intranasal administration only.
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Despite recent doubts about its effectiveness, the influenza vaccine does give valuable protection against illness, hospital admission and death caused by influenza, and people over 65 should have the flu jab this winter, say experts on bmj.com. Several prominent media articles have suggested that the flu vaccination programme for the over 65s is not worthwhile.
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