NYC to start school-based vaccines
New York City's health commissioner said today that the city is proceeding with plans to vaccinate schoolchildren against H1N1 flu, according to the New York Times. Dr. Thomas Farley said, "We have 40,000 doses set aside for the first wave of schools, which we feel should be adequate." Free vaccinations will start tomorrow at 125 small public elementary schools. Last week the city had about 300,000 of the 380,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine it had ordered.
Oct 27 New York Times story
Canada buys unadjuvanted vaccine
To provide pregnant women earlier access to pandemic H1N1 vaccine, Canada's health minister announced yesterday the purchase of 200,000 doses of an unadjuvanted product from CSL Ltd in Australia, the Canadian Press reported today. Officials are particularly concerned about women in remote communities. The bulk of Canada's H1N1 vaccine is adjuvanted, and its unadjuvanted version awaits approval. Pregnant women are among those at greatest risk for flu complications.
New HHS flu ads pair Elmo, governors
To raise awareness about flu prevention in children, a high-risk group, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday launched 13 new radio public service announcements. The messages feature Elmo from Sesame Street with 13 of the nation's governors. They urge children to sneeze into the bend of their arm and wash their hands frequently, and they guide parents to have a care plan if schools are closed or children are sick.
Oct 26 HHS press release
Calls crash Minnesota clinic's vaccine line
A Minnesota clinic that publicized that it had 17,000 doses of pandemic H1N1 vaccine to administer closed its flu shot phone line yesterday after 120,000 calls in 4 hours swamped the system, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. A message on the Park Nicollet Clinic Web site says patients in four high-risk groups are targeted to receive the doses: pregnant women, children ages 6 months through 4 years, children ages 5 years to 18 years with underlying conditions, and first responders.
Oct 27 Star Tribune story
First H1N1 death in Turkey prompts no-kiss advice
After Turkey reported its first death from the H1N1 flu, newspapers said the country's health minister urged people not to kiss or shake hands for the next 5 months, Reuters reported today. Schools in Ankara, the capital, were ordered closed for a week after the death of a 29-year-old patient was reported over the weekend.
EU official says up to 30% may get H1N1
European Commissioner for Health Androulla Vassiliou warned yesterday that up to 30% of Europeans could catch the H1N1 virus, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report. Vassiliou told the German newspaper Die Welt that the pandemic would probably cause "a significant number" of deaths. She also said the virus could become more aggressive in coming months and the pandemic could hurt Europe's economic recovery. She advocated the immediate closure of schools where H1N1 cases occur.
Germany vaccinates health workers amid controversy
Germany began vaccinating health workers and chronically people against H1N1 yesterday amid a continuing controversy over the two vaccines being used, the Associated Press reported. Most Germans will receive a GlaxoSmithKline vaccine, Pandemrix, which contains an adjuvant, while soldiers and high-ranking government employees will get Baxter's Celvapan, a cell-based vaccine with no adjuvant. The plan has sparked concern about the safety of Pandemrix and complaints about a two-class health system.