MONTGOMERY, AL - Alabama has received 5,300 doses of nasal mist H1N1 influenza vaccine and has been informed that an additional 24,000 doses of nasal mist vaccine have been shipped to arrive in Alabama.
Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer, said, "The challenge is that the vaccine does not come out in a smooth process. Every day we see how many doses we are allowed to order. We know there is demand for vaccine, but the vast majority of the supply will not be received until November or December. Twenty percent of the vaccine will be in the form of intranasal spray."
The Alabama Department of Public Health invited health care providers to order H1N1 influenza vaccine starting last week. During the first week health departments were allowed to submit H1N1 vaccine orders to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ADPH ordered its full allocation of 51,000 doses of H1N1 influenza vaccine. Approximately 900 Alabama health care providers requested over 1 million doses of H1N1 influenza vaccine in the first week. These requests will be filled over the next three months.
Alabama will be allowed to order approximately 600,000 doses by the end of October. This will allow the health department to work with public and private schools to start school-based H1N1 immunization clinics in early November. The total allotment through January will be 2.8 million doses. County health departments are not expected to receive vaccine before mid- to- late November or as late as mid-December.
School-based clinics will use only injectable H1N1 vaccine for the 900,000 students in Alabama schools. These immunization clinics will be voluntary, and written permission will be required. Only one dose of H1N1 influenza vaccine is needed to protect persons ages 10 and older. Two doses are needed for children between 6 months and 9 years of age.
Nasal mist vaccine is licensed for use among healthy persons aged 2 through 49 years. This live-virus vaccine is not for pregnant women, persons with weakened immune systems, and those with chronic diseases such as cancer, obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma or diabetes.
Those persons who have already had 2009 H1N1 influenza which has been confirmed by PCR laboratory analysis, not by a rapid test, are presumed to be immune and do not need to have the vaccine. However, this will be their choice because the latest research indicates the vaccine will not be harmful to them.