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What you need to know about influenza right now

  1. Thanks for the good info! Didn’t know about the potential one shot vaccine.
    It also made me look up how long it takes to create enough antibodies to be immune to influenza.
    Any day I learn a few new things is an excellent day indeed!

  2. Excellent informative post.

    I remember a severe flu shortage, earlier in the season (early November) due to faults in the production line at a major vaccine manufacturer’s production plant.

    We, at the County health department where I worked, performed superbly, to assist private physician practices to get supplies of flu vaccine to their most vulnerable patients, as well as patients in nursing homes and residents at group homes for medically fragile developmentally disabled individuals.

    Private doctors and area hospitals which had ample supplies of flu vaccine, voluntarily contributed to our supply at the Health department.

    The State health department commissioner issued emergency orders to the other flu manufacturers to not backfill pending orders from private physicians and send their available flu vaccine supplies to the County health departments which were experiencing severe shortages of flu vaccine.

    We had already set up private phone lines for physicians to call us with the number of doses they needed to vaccinate their most vulnerable patients and we set up a distribution program at the County Medical Society where our nurses supplied these physicians with flu vaccine at no charge to them.

    We set up a phone bank in a large conference room with nurses supervising non-medical staff to answer questions for “civilians” during the flu vaccine shortage.

    By the end of November, we scheduled a special clinic for senior citizens on a Saturday and Sunday on the campus of our County community college. About 200 of our staff including non-medical individuals participated in those 2-day flu vaccine clinics. More than 50 of our nurses from all divisions of our Health department were in clusters at 12 separate immunizations stations. Our own staff plus physicians/volunteers from the private sector who spoke foreign languages, were available with the flu vaccines Vaccine Information Statements in those foreign languages to distribute.

    The State Health Department sent staff to observe and videotape the two day clinic where we immunized 8,000 senior citizens. They also calculated the wait time for the seniors from the time they entered the auditorium for paper processing and they received the flu vaccine; from 15 minutes to 40 minutes (after church services on Sunday, when the seniors were transferred to and from their churches by buses).

    I was never more proud of my County health department’s performance during the flu vaccine shortage. But then, we always thought of immunizations as a major priority for our 1.2 million County population.

    • I remember how bad it was when the vaccine was short throughout the country. Even if not everyone was vaccinating, not having that little bit of people immunized really made a difference. I had really, really, really long nights at the lab, testing everyone for the flu and doing a lot of blood cultures for the elderly with pneumonia and sepsis.

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