View Full Version : Some GIs, high-risk beneficiaries to get flu vaccine

10-21-04, 09:01 AM
Some GIs, high-risk beneficiaries to get flu vaccine
Submitted by: MCB Camp Pendleton
Story Identification #: 20041019142613
Story by Lance Cpl. Daniel J. Redding

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2004) -- Service members deploying for the war on terrorism and highnrisk beneficiaries will receive their flu shots, Department of Defense health officials said this week.

Meanwhile, naval medical officials say they're waiting to determine how much flu vaccine they'll receive, and for more specific DoD guidance on what patients will get it first, amid news about worldwide shortages that broke last week.

"We expect Camp Pendleton to be affected by the influenza vaccine shortage," said Lt. Cmdr. Scott McKenzie, who heads the Preventive Medicine Department at naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.

DoD officials, who asked not to be named, said a plan is being finalized on how to prioritize delivery of the vaccine in light of the shortages.

But, the officials said, DoD expects to receive enough vaccine to cover "highnrisk" beneficiaries and "critical operational forces" nn an assertion bolstered by a document distributed by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and obtained by The Scout.

The officials said further guidance on the subject will define "critical operational forces," and it will include deployed service members and those slated to deploy soon.

"Once we receive that plan, we will establish our local plan for immunizing both the activenduty and beneficiary population," McKenzie said. "The DoD supply distribution system will be determining how much vaccine each military base receives based on their population at risk. The vaccine is expected to be received in multiple shipments over the next several weeks."

The United States will receive roughly half of its expected doses of flu vaccine due to the Oct. 5 shutdown of Chiron Corporation's vaccine manufacturing factory in England, according to the Associated Press. British health officials ordered the suspension amid concerns about Chiron's manufacturing process, according to news reports.

Federal officials initially expected 100 million doses for distribution in the United States. As of late last week, they expected only 54 million from the world's other major manufacturer, Aventis, according to a new York Times report.

The U.S. shortfall resulted in a deficit at DoD and its military health outlets, including local military hospitals.

By Wednesday, DoD had revised its count of doses needed from 2.2 million to 1.7 million. DoD has arranged to receive 1.3 million from Aventis, the world's other major provider of flu vaccine. DoD is negotiating with Aventis to receive more, and expects to vaccinate everyone in its target group, including all highnrisk beneficiaries who typically receive their care at DoD facilities, officials said.

DoD officials expressed confidence they would be able to meet the immunition requirements for critically operational forces and highnrisk patients.

normally, DoD aims to immunize all service members, but this year, many will be deferred, officials said.

Doug Allen, a spokesman for naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, confirmed Wednesday that the hospital still hadn't heard from DoD. He said he couldn't say how many doses the hospital had ordered or how many are expected.

Last year, naval Medical Center San Diego ordered about 89,000 doses, and boosted that order by about 500 this year, said Amy Rohlfs, a public affairs officer at the center. On Tuesday, she said she didn't know how many doses the center would receive.

Dr. Bruce Gellen, director of the national Vaccine Program Office at the Department of Health and Human Services, during an interview last week on national Public Radio, said the nation's priority should be highnrisk patients nn or those most likely to be among the 36,000 people who die each year from influenza.

"We are most concerned about the people that suffer complications of influenza," Gellen said.

Experts estimate 50n60 million Americans are at highnrisk of death or serious complications from the flu, according to Richard Knox with the nPR.

Authorities asked that, due to the shortage of supplies, those at higher risk receive the vaccine first, according to Pollack.

First in line for the vaccine, according to the AP:

- babies and toddlers ages 6n23 months

- adults 65 years or older

- anyone with a chronic condition such as heart or lung disease

- pregnant women

- nursing home residents

- children on aspirin therapy; health care workers who care for high risk groups

- anyone who cares for or lives with babies younger than 6 months

The Veteran's Affairs Medical Center in La Jolla has set up a Flu Shot Information Line for its patients. It will be updated regularly with dates and times for walknin clinics around the county, said Cindy Butler, the center's public affairs officer.

"We are expecting the major amount of our vaccine to come in (nov. 1). At that time we will have the clinics," Butler said.

"You have to be an enrolled veteran in the VA health care system to receive a shot."


Naval medical officials are waiting to determine how much flu vaccine they will receive amid news about worldwide shortages that broke last week. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Daniel J. Redding



Doc Crow
11-09-04, 01:55 PM
Sad part is that the Prisoners in State Pens here in AZ are getting their flu shots sooner then the Senior Citizens and the kids who need them