|December 17, 2003||Influenza Web site|
ADDITIONAL FLU VACCINE SHIPPED TO LOCAL
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- With influenza vaccine supplies dwindling or exhausted at public health sites throughout the state, the Illinois Department of Public Health has begun shipping about 3,270 recently acquired doses of flu vaccine to local health departments, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, today announced.
"While this limited supply of additional vaccine will not be able to meet all the demands local health departments are experiencing, it will help provide protection to people at high risk of flu complications," Dr. Whitaker said. "We will continue to work with the federal government and other pharmaceutical sources to acquire as much vaccine as possible."
The vaccine being supplied this week is Illinois' share of 100,000 doses purchased by the federal government for people 3 years of age and older from a reserve held by one of the nation's flu manufacturers. The Department is working with the state's 94 local health departments to determine vaccine needs and how much the state will be able to provide.
The state also has purchased 1,000 pediatric doses of flu vaccine for children 6 months to 23 months of age that is expected to be delivered in about two weeks and has bought 1,000 doses of FluMist nasal spray, which is appropriate for healthy individuals 5 to 49 years of age.
Dr. Whitaker said the state is waiting to receive word from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how much flu vaccine it will receive from the agency's recent purchase in England of 375,000 doses of surplus production.
U.S. manufacturers produced about 82 million doses of vaccine, which normally would be enough to exceed the country's demand. But with reports of widespread flu outbreaks in Illinois and around the country, the strong demand for the vaccine is continuing at a time when most vaccination clinics are typically winding down.
Overall, the state had purchased and distributed nearly 200,000 doses of flu vaccine this flu season and local health department's have bought and administered thousands of flu shots in clinics that began in October.
"We are pleased about the strong response and high consumer demand for influenza vaccine," Dr. Whitaker said. "We want everyone who wants a flu shot to be able to get one, especially those at high risk for severe consequences."
In addition to public clinics, Dr. Whitaker encouraged people who still want immunization against influenza to contact their primary health care provider for FluMist or a flu shot. While local health departments are the source for many who seek flu vaccinations every year, private health care providers purchase and administer 90 percent of the vaccinations.
Although the strains in this year's flu vaccine are somewhat different from the main strain circulating and causing illness in some parts of the country (A/Fujian), laboratory studies indicate that the vaccine should provide significant protection. A/Fujian has not yet been confirmed in Illinois.
Those at highest risk for severe illness from the flu are:
Influenza, commonly called the flu, is caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract and spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Typically flu symptoms include fever (usually 100 degrees F in adults and often higher in children) dry cough, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.
After a person has been infected with the virus, symptoms usually appear within one to four days. The infection is considered contagious for five to seven days after symptoms start. Children may be contagious for seven or more days. Illness usually lingers for a week or two. Each year, an estimated 10 percent to 20 percent of the population may contracts influenza.
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