Aug 19, 2009
New York state requires health workers to get flu immunizations
The New York State Department of Health has adopted an emergency rule requiring healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients to be vaccinated against seasonal and novel H1N1 influenza, the New York Times reported yesterday. The rule affects hospitals, home health agencies, and hospices but not nursing homes. The state's largest healthcare union protested the rule, saying the policy could become punitive for workers who shun vaccination for religious or cultural reasons.
Aug 18 New York Times story
H1N1 vaccine orders in northern hemisphere top 1 billion doses
A World Health Organization (WHO) official said yesterday that northern hemisphere countries have ordered more than 1 billion doses of H1N1 vaccines, Agence France-Presse reported. The WHO's Melinda Henry said a few countries, such as Greece, Canada, and Israel, have ordered enough doses to cover their whole populations, while others, including the United States, have ordered less.
Aug 18 AFP story
Australian government expects first H1N1 vaccine doses next week
The Australian government expects to receive its first 2 million doses of H1N1 vaccine by the end of next week, the Adelaide Advertiser reported today. Pregnant women, health workers, and chronically ill people will be first in line for the vaccine. It is expected that immunizations could begin Sep 7, pending approval from national health authorities. They are awaiting safety data from the vaccine manufacturer, CSL, which is also making vaccine for the US government.
NIAID to launch trials of H1N1 vaccine in children
Following approval from a safety monitoring panel, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said it would launch two trials of novel H1N1 vaccines in children. Plans for the trials were announced in July. The safety committee reviewed data from two adult trials that started Aug 7 and found no problems that would preclude the tests in children. One trial will test two different doses of an H1N1 vaccine, and the other will involve giving an H1N1 vaccine with seasonal flu vaccine.
Aug 18 NIAID announcement
British agency says Tamiflu plus warfarin may increase stroke risk
Britain's Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is concerned that oseltamivir (Tamiflu) may interact with the anticoagulant warfarin to increase the risk of uncontrolled bleeding and stroke, according to a report by the <i>Daily Mail</i> newspaper. The agency has advised health professionals to be alert for such cases. The story said the MHRA has received reports of 12 suspected adverse reactions to oseltamivir that involved interactions with warfarin.
Aug 19 Daily Mail report
Australian survives near-fatal H1N1 case with help of IV zanamivir
A 20-year-old Australian who has asthma survived a nearly fatal case of H1N1 flu after he was treated with an experimental intravenous form of zanamivir (Relenza), the <i>Adelaide Advertiser</i> reported today. The man's lungs had filled with mucus and his stomach had shut down, ruling out treatment with oral oseltamivir, the report said. So his doctors decided to try IV zanamivir, which had to be flown in from the United States. The drug is normally taken with an inhaler.