CDC advises keeping unexpired H1N1 vaccine until fall

Mar 25, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – States and vaccination providers should hang on to unexpired supplies of pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine until the 2010-11 seasonal flu vaccine is available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.

Much of the remaining vaccine supply expires in the next few months, but Sanofi Pasteur's vaccine packaged in multi-dose vials is good until 2011, the CDC noted in a question-and-answer statement released yesterday afternoon.

"Viable 2009 H1N1 Sanofi Pasteur MDV [multi-dose vial vaccine] should not be destroyed until 2010-11 seasonal vaccine (which will contain 2009 H1N1 strain) is widely available," the CDC said. "It should be stored in the event there is a resurgence of disease before the 2010-11 vaccine is available."

The H1N1 vaccine will not be considered a substitute for the new seasonal vaccine, since the latter will contain H3N2 and influenza B strains along with the 2009 H1N1, the agency said.

Concerning vaccine storage, the CDC advised, "Because providers may want to free up their refrigerator storage, states may choose to accept vaccine back from providers if vaccine viability and cold chain integrity can be assured." It added that federal Public Health Emergency Response funds can be used to pay for storage until Jul 30.

Expired or unused vaccine should not be sent back to McKesson Corp., which has served as the central distributor of H1N1 vaccine under a government contract, the notice said.

The agency also recommended that state health departments specifically ask vaccination providers to keep their unexpired H1N1 doses as a reserve in case demand for the vaccine increases before the seasonal vaccine arrives. Providers should also be encouraged to keep vaccinating people who have conditions that put them at risk for severe H1N1 illness, officials said.

See also:

Mar 24 CDC notice
http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/qa_longdated_vaccine.htm

Mar 24 CIDRAP News story "As H1N1 vaccinations taper, CDC lists changes in distribution"

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