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Target Groups Revised for Receiving H1N1 Vaccine

November 18, 2009

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department today revised target groups for H1N1 vaccination.  The change reflects Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for periods of vaccine scarcity.

 

Effective immediately priority for vaccine distribution will be given to pregnant women; people who live with or care for children under 6 months of age; health care and emergency medical service workers who have direct contact with patients or infectious material; children 6 months through 4 years of age; and children and adolescents 5 through 18 years who have medical conditions putting them at higher risk for flu-related complications.

 

"Our prioritization is aimed at providing vaccine to those we determine are most severely affected by H1N1. We continue to receive vaccine from the state Department of Health each week, and we are distributing it to providers who are vaccinating those who most need it," said Dr. Anthony Chen, director of health for Tacoma and Pierce County.

 

The groups are subsets that are smaller than CDC's initial target groups. "When these smaller groups have had adequate opportunity to be vaccinated, vaccine will once again be made available to those in the larger target groups," Chen said.

 

For the past two weeks the department has been emphasizing the need to vaccinate health care and emergency medical workers who have direct patient contact.  A number of clinics have been held to meet that need and others are scheduled for the near future.  At the same time other target groups were being served as vaccine availability allowed.

 

Unanticipated delays in production and distribution of H1N1 vaccine at the federal level have resulted in vaccine shortages nationwide. Shipments of vaccine continue to be received each week by the health department and approved vaccine providers throughout the county, but at lower levels than expected.

 

As of this week Pierce County has been allocated 119,660 doses of H1N1 vaccine. Of that total, Tacoma ?Pierce County Health Department has received and distributed 26,700 doses.


Contact: Anthony Chen, MD, Director of Health, (253) 798-2899 

Contact: Dick Ferguson, PHIO, (253) 377-3215 or  (253) 208-8316; dferguson@tpchd.org


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