Coral Springs, FL, October 18, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- A news conference by health officials in Washington D.C. held in late September or October is the traditional start of the autumn vaccine campaign. However, this year the news conference has been pushed up earlier to September 10th featuring the Director of the federal Center for Disease Control.
Why, you ask? Because this year’s flu season has all the indications of becoming anything but a traditional flu season. According to the CDC, the majority of people will require a single vaccine injection for the regular seasonal flu and vaccination for the swine flu will require two injections, three weeks apart, for maximum protection against infection. Health experts suggest that the first shot should be given as early as this month, if possible.
As stated by IMC / Immediate Medical Center Director, Dr. Christopher Perez, “The federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention has established two lists for those who should be the first to get the seasonal flu vaccine and those who should be the first to receive the swine flu vaccine.”
In fact these lists cite that for the regular flu vaccine, among the priority groups are elderly people, health care workers and pregnant women. The list for the swine flu vaccine places emphasis on health care workers, pregnant women and those living in households with infants younger than six months, but not for older people who seem to have relative immunity to the swine flu.
“There are exceptions for patients at extremely high risk such as people with diabetes who are at a tremendously greater risk, people with HIV/AIDS are considered at increased risk from serious influenza-related complications and adults with asthma where respiratory infections like influenza are more serious, and such infections can often lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease,” said Dr. Christopher Perez, Medical Director of IMC / Immediate Medical Center located in Coral Springs.
Data from the Center for Disease Control confirms that just one in three U.S. adults received flu shots last year.
Adults with asthma are at high risk of developing complications after contracting the influenza virus, yet most adults with asthma do not receive an annual flu vaccination. According to the CDC, annual flu vaccination rates among people with asthma need to be increased as the flu vaccine is safe and effective. All people who have asthma should be encouraged to get the flu vaccination as part of their routine care.
CDC studies show that although people with diabetes are more likely to die with the flu, about 50% do not get an annual flu shot. Pneumococcal disease kills more people in the United States each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined, and people with diabetes are at greater risk. CDC's Diabetes and Flu/Pneumococcal Campaign, a part of the ongoing public service campaign, Diabetes. One Disease. Many Risks, encourages people with diabetes to get flu and pneumonia shots.
During the setting of the current vaccine shortage, people with HIV/AIDS are among the priority groups that should get flu shots this season. People with HIV/AIDS are considered at increased risk from serious influenza-related complications. CDC studies have shown an increased risk for heart- and lung-related hospitalizations in people infected with HIV during influenza season as opposed to other times of the year, and a higher risk of influenza-related death in HIV-infected people. Vaccination with a flu shot has been shown to produce an immune response against influenza viruses in certain people infected with HIV.
According to health officials, more than half of the 130 million doses of seasonal vaccine are expected to be available by the end of this month, as the five vaccine manufacturers that supply the U.S. are presently completing production of the seasonal flu vaccine earlier than usual. The remaining balance is believed to be available by the end of September with some manufacturers reporting that distributors are quickly buying up supplies.
These five manufacturers are the same companies producing the new swine flu vaccine, one of which is producing a nasal spray version of the flu vaccine. Although the first deliveries of the vaccines are expected in September, the majority of the vaccines will reach their destinations in late October or early November according to health officials.
“Fortunately, most cases of swine flu are still mild. All of us should continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of swine flu and respiratory illnesses.” said Dr. Paula Thaqi, Director of the Broward County Health Department in a July 2009 press release.
Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention told state health officials last week, "We are working on triage systems so people will have good information about, 'What will I need to do?'"
While the government is working with concerned health care providers to develop hot lines or interactive Web sites to help flu sufferers decide when they really need a hospital, nationwide hospitals concerned with even more over crowded ER’s are recommending people use their community immediate care centers to avoid unnecessary emergency room hospital visits.
Erica Deutsch, Manager for IMC / Immediate Medical Center stated “as the Coral Springs community immediate care center, IMC provides outstanding walk-in medical services seven days a week to ensure that our community has an affordable and effective alternative to overcrowded hospital emergency rooms. Our goal at Immediate Medical Center is to ensure that our community remains safe by providing the flu vaccines as early as possible along with quality service and quality care.