November 9, 2004
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced that the distribution of some 7.2 million doses of the nation's remaining supply of flu vaccine will be determined by the states' health departments.
Since early October when a vaccine shortage was announced, CDC and vaccine manufacturer Aventis Pasteur had been shipping vaccine based primarily on estimates of high-risk populations in each state. Officials say the new process will allow more specific information about local needs to be applied to distribution decisions.
Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) officials expect that CDC will allocate some 500,000 to 600,000 of the 7.2 million doses for Texas. DSHS officials are working with local health departments in deciding where the vaccine will go.
DSHS is soliciting information about high-risk populations and gaps in vaccine availability from local public health departments and DSHS regional offices that cover counties without local health departments. DSHS hopes to have vaccine shipping instructions for Texas to CDC in about a week.
The Texas doses will be distributed to non-public health providers, including nursing homes, hospitals, physicians and others in the private sector.
The 7.2 million doses will not be physically shipped to state health departments, but instead will be shipped by the manufacturer directly to providers identified and approved by the various state health departments.
CDC also announced that an additional 3.1 million doses will be used to fill vaccine orders placed last summer by state and local health departments. Those doses also will be used to vaccinate high-risk population groups.
The high risk groups for influenza identified by CDC are: children 6 months through 23 months of age, adults 65 and older, anyone with underlying chronic medical conditions, women who will be pregnant during flu season, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, children 6 months through 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy, medical care workers providing direct patient care and caregivers and household contacts of children under 6 months old.
In Texas, DSHS is encouraging special consideration for those in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, those 65 and older who have chronic health conditions, and medical care workers who provide direct patient care.
DSHS recommends that those in the high-risk categories trying to find a flu shot first contact their doctors and then their local health departments or nearest DSHS regional office.
More information, including listings of DSHS regional offices and local public health departments, is available on the DSHS Web site: www.dshs.state.tx.us
The latest weekly surveillance report classifies flu activity in the state as “sporadic,” in contrast to a “widespread” rating for the same period last year.
Overall, Texas is expected to receive from 3 million to 3.5 million of the national supply of 61 million doses.
(News Media: for more information contact Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, 512-458-7524.)