H1N1 BREAKING NEWS: 3 flu shots, UK calling up retired doctors, nurses; heads of state from Canada, US, Mexico to meet; US death toll still rising; Sanofi files for vaccine license; Hanoi closes schools

Aug 7, 2009

Prospect of three flu shots raises questions
People in groups targeted for both seasonal flu and H1N1 flu immunizations will likely need three separate vaccine doses this fall, according to the Associated Press. Experts believe that two doses will be necessary for the new H1N1 virus. Because giving seasonal and H1N1 vaccinations at the same time would complicate safety monitoring, government experts prefer the idea of giving the three shots in three separate visits. But that's expecting a lot from the public, said one vaccine expert.

Healthcare retirees may be called up in UK pandemic efforts

Some of the UK's National Health Service (NHS) trusts (organizations that provide services on behalf of the NHS) have begun contacting retired doctors, nurses, and other staff to see if they are willing to help if the H1N1 pandemic worsens. Depending on the trust involved, retirees up to 3 years out have been approached, according to Nursing Times, a British weekly. Some trusts are not enlisting retirees but are cross-training staff and may stop elective services and transfer staff as needed.
Aug 7 Nursing Times online article



US, Mexican, Canadian leaders to discuss H1N1
President Barack Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will include the flu pandemic on their agenda when they meet Sunday and Monday in Guadalajara, Mexico. The leaders will confer about vaccine development for the H1N1 flu wave expected this fall and discuss mitigation measures, according to a Reuters story. A joint statement from the three leaders will be issued after the summit.
Aug 6 Reuters article



US death toll from novel H1N1 reaches 436
The US death toll due to novel H1N1 flu has risen to 436, up from 353 a week ago, the CDC said in today's weekly flu surveillance report. The agency said flu activity continued its decline last week but still remained above normal for this time of year. Four states and Puerto Rico reported widespread flu activity, the same number as the week before. More than 98% of all subtyped flu viruses were the novel H1N1. The CDC said 6,506 hospitalizations related to the virus have been reported.
CDC flu surveillance report for Jul 26 to Aug 1



Sanofi files for H1N1 vaccine license launches clinical trial
Sanofi Pasteur announced today that it has launched a clinical trial of its novel H1N1 influenza vaccine and applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for licensure of the vaccine. The company is testing the vaccine, including a version that contains an adjuvant, for immunogenicity and safety in about 2,000 volunteers. In line with recent FDA recommendations, the company has asked the FDA to evaluate the vaccine the same way it reviews seasonal fu vaccine strain changes.
Aug 7 Sanofi news release



Canada orders 50.4 million doses of H1N1 vaccine
The Canadian government announced plans yesterday to buy 50.4 million doses of novel H1N1 flu vaccine, enough for all Canadians who "want and need" to be immunized. Officials said immunizations will begin by November. Canada has a longstanding contract with GlaxoSmithKline to maintain vaccine production capacity in Canada to meet the country's pandemic vaccine needs. The federal government will cover 60% of the vaccine cost, with provinces and territories paying the rest.

Aug 6 Canadian government news release


Hanoi closes all schools in bid to stop pandemic
Hanoi today closed all of its schools until further notice in an effort to contain the novel H1N1 outbreak, according to an Agence France-Presse report. The city's education department said three schools have had cases among their students. Schools just began opening this week, though the new school year doesn't begin until Aug 17, the story said. Vietnam has had 1,043 H1N1 cases since May, but only one death, which occurred Aug 3 and involved a 29-year-old woman in Khanh Hoa province.
Aug 7 AFP story


H1N1 enters Ghana
Ghana's Deputy Health Minister, Benjamin Kumbour, said yesterday that the country had recorded its first two cases of novel H1N1 flu, according to Independent Online, a South African news service. One case is in a 19-year-old woman from Accra, the capital, who may have been infected by a relative who had visited Britain. The other case involves a woman from the Western Region. Kumbour said Ghana, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, has procured drugs for H1N1 treatment.

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