Monday, September 28, 2009
Contact: Greg Raver-Lampman
Pediatricians await new shipments of injectable flu vaccine
Intranasal doses still available
HAMPTON ROADS, VA
– Shipments of seasonal flu shots produced by some manufacturers are delayed. These delays, in turn, have affected pediatric practices in the region.
The delay affects only the shot form of the vaccine for the seasonal flu. The intranasal form of the vaccine, called FluMist, is still available at many practices. FluMist is approved for use in healthy children ages 2 to 21 years of age by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“The seasonal flu typically emerges in late December and peaks in January or February, so children who wait to get the seasonal flu vaccine still have ample time to receive the vaccine and the protection associated with it in time for this year’s seasonal flu,” said CHKD infectious diseases specialist Dr. Randall Fisher. “In fact, pediatric practices in our community haven’t traditionally offered seasonal flu vaccine until mid-October.”
Fisher encouraged parents to consider the intranasal form of the vaccine while supplies last. “Repeated studies have found that the intranasal form of the vaccine offers better protection to children,” Fisher said.
As of today, the 16 pediatric practices associated with CHKD Health System have administered more than 12,000 doses of vaccine for the seasonal flu.
“Last year at this time, the number was just over 2,400 doses,” said Dr. Hugh McPhee, a physician with the Pediatric Diagnostic Center and medical director of CHKD’s pediatric practices. “I think that’s a very good early start for this season and gives us time to get the rest of our children in for their vaccinations.”
As parents hear about children coming down with flu, it’s important to keep in mind that more than 99 percent of the flu cases today are associated with the novel H1N1, or swine flu, and not the seasonal flu.
Receiving the seasonal flu vaccine each year is important, but will not protect against the swine flu. Therefore, health officials emphasize the importance of getting both the seasonal and the novel H1N1 vaccination. A vaccine for the swine flu should be available in October.
“As soon as more shipments of the seasonal flu shot come in, we’ll pass the information along to our patients and their parents,” Dr. McPhee said. “In the meantime, a delay in seasonal flu vaccination poses no threat to the health of children in the region.”