2009-10-09 / Top Stories

Paterson: H1N1 Vaccines Arriving This Week

Governor Paterson Governor Paterson Governor David A. Paterson today announced that the first shipments of the new H1N1 influenza vaccine have started to arrive in New York State.

"Some counties in New York received their first doses of the H1N1 vaccine yesterday," Governor Paterson said. "More counties are receiving vaccine this week, and we expect to receive larger quantities of the H1N1 vaccine over the coming weeks.

Eventually, there should be enough vaccine for every New Yorker who wants it."

On Monday, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and health departments in Nassau and Suffolk counties reported receipt of their initial doses of the new H1N1 vaccine. More county health departments received shipments today.

These shipments consist of the nasal spray vaccine, which can only be given to healthy children and young adults ages two to 24 years old and healthy adults age 25 to 49 years old.

The nasal spray will be given to healthy children, health care workers and individuals who care for infants less than six months of age.

It's expected that the injectable vaccine will be delivered next week and, at that time, others in the priority groups established by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be able to get vaccinated.

On Monday and Tuesday, counties outside New York City started receiving approximately 91,000 doses of H1N1 flu vaccine - the maximum made available to New York State outside of New York City by the CDC. The New York State Health Department is coordinating vaccine orders for providers outside New York City; the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is coordinating the distribution of vaccine within the City.

The CDC expects three million doses of the vaccine to be available nationwide this week and three million more next week.

Approximately 10 million to 15 million vaccine doses are expected to become available for national distribution each week thereafter until the end of October.

Vaccine distribution will continue into November and December, and beyond if necessary. The federal government has purchased enough vaccine to provide a total of 250 million doses.

New York State will receive approximately six percent to seven percent of the total doses nationwide, based on population. "This is just the start of what will be a wide distribution of vaccine to protect New Yorkers against the H1N1 flu virus," Paterson said. "Due to the small amount of the first allocation, the State Health Department is targeting this first allotment to hospitals, federally-qualified community health centers, and county health departments."

The priority groups established by the CDC to receive the H1N1 influenza vaccine are:

Pregnant women;

Health care workers and emergency medical services personnel;

Persons who live with or provide care for infants under six months of age;

Children and young people ages six months through 24 years; and

Persons age 25 through 64 years old who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for serious illness and influenza-related complications.

Because the nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women and children ages six months to under two years of age, these groups will receive priority for vaccination as soon as injectable doses arrive.

State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., said, "The new H1N1 vaccine has undergone more testing than the seasonal vaccine, which in recent years has not undergone clinical trials because it has been proven safe and effective.

Clinical trials for the H1N1 vaccine indicated that it provides a good immune response to the new H1N1 flu virus with no significant adverse events - very similar to the effects of the seasonal flu vaccine, such as a sore arm."

The H1N1 vaccine is licensed by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and is considered very safe, as safe as ordinary seasonal influenza vaccine.

This vaccine was developed and licensed using the same process as the seasonal vaccine, with which 100 million Americans are vaccinated each year.

According to a new regulation adopted by the New York State Hospital Review and Planning Council, which consists of physicians, hospital and health plan CEOs and other outside experts, employees of hospitals, diagnostic and treatment centers, and home care agencies who come into direct contact with patients must be vaccinated against the seasonal flu and the new H1N1 influenza.

"Vaccination is the best prevention against the flu," Commissioner Daines said. "H1N1 flu activity is spreading across the state.

This virus spreads rapidly among young people and is especially virulent in its effects on pregnant women.

To prevent its spread to others, we expect health care workers to get vaccinated to help minimize the risk of flu and its complications for their patients."

More information on seasonal flu and the new H1N1 influenza is available at www.nyhealth.gov.

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