Butler County Distributing Three Types of New H1N1 Flu Vaccine

Oct 23, 2009

The Butler County Health Department has been receiving three different versions of the new H1N1 flu vaccine – each one designed for a specific use. The health department will be distributing the vaccine according to the guidelines established for each of the three versions.

“There are three main types of H1N1 flu vaccine and each type is not right for everyone,” said Health Department Director, Robert Hudson. “It is important to remember that there will eventually be enough vaccine for everyone who wants to be vaccinated against the H1N1 flu.”

The three main types are: 1) the intranasal FluMist®, 2) the preservative-free injectable H1N1 flu vaccine and 3) the regular injectable H1N1 flu vaccine.

The first type of 2009 novel H1N1 influenza vaccine received in Missouri was the intranasal FluMist® that is sprayed directly into the nose. It will be used to vaccinate people from two years of age through 49 years of age, unless they are pregnant, have an underlying health condition such as asthma or diabetes or are allergic to one of the components of the FluMist® vaccine.

The preservative-free injectable H1N1 flu vaccine comes in pre-filled syringes for children and pre-filled syringes for adults, and will be used to vaccinate pregnant women and children between the ages of six months and three years of age, unless they have an allergy to one of the components of the vaccine.

The most common form of the vaccine – the regular injectable H1N1 flu vaccine – is typically used to vaccinate those who are three years of age or older, unless they are pregnant or have an allergy to one of the components of the vaccine (such as eggs).

Missouri statute prohibits giving pregnant women and children under three vaccine that contains mercury-based preservative. However, a clause allows the state health director to set aside the ban in certain circumstances, including a pandemic or a shortage of vaccine. On October 22, 2009, Margaret Donnelly, director of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services, determined that a shortage of preservative-free vaccine was preventing pregnant women and young children from obtaining the new H1N1 vaccine, and provided an exemption from the statute. Pregnant women and parents of children under three who were previously unable to be vaccinated due to a shortage of preservative-free vaccine are encouraged to consult their health care provider to determine which formulation of vaccine is best for them or their child.

The two injectable forms of the vaccine contain a dead version of the H1N1 virus. The intranasal FluMist® contains a small amount of weakened live virus. All flu vaccine currently available in the United States has been manufactured using eggs and is not recommended for those who have an allergy to eggs.

The health department has received 2000 doses of H1N1 vaccine to date: 700 regular injectable doses; 400 preservative-free injectable doses; and 900 doses of intranasal FluMist®. The department is in the process of distributing those doses to ensure that the priority groups identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) are the first to be offered the vaccine. Those priority groups are:

• pregnant women,
• people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age,
• health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact,
• children 6 months through 4 years of age, and
• children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.

The Butler County Health Department is waiting for better guidance from DHSS on how to handle the preservative-free vaccine waiver for pregnant women and children less than 36 months of age.
There will be an Annex M – Health and Medical – Committee meeting on Monday October 26th to discuss the current H1N1 vaccine situation.

The health department expects to continue receiving shipments of H1N1 vaccine until enough has arrived to vaccinate everyone in the county who wishes to be vaccinated. For more information, please contact us at 573-785-8478 or visit www.FightTheFluMO.com.