Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano announced today that Arizona will receive 22,500 additional doses of flu vaccine as early as Wednesday, and will distribute the vaccine to local health departments in the next week.
“Because of the nationwide shortage of flu vaccine, these shots will go to those individuals who are at highest risk,” Governor Napolitano said. “We’re working hard to get these vaccines out to the counties quickly for distribution.”
The additional flu vaccine was purchased from Aventis-Pasteur, one of two flu vaccine manufacturers in the nation, through a $250,000 allocation from the State Health Crisis Fund, the Governor announced. Approximately $70,000 from the allocation also will be used for a public awareness campaign to educate residents about how to avoid contracting the flu.
Department of Health Services Director Catherine Eden said the additional flu shots will be targeted to the elderly, children 6 months through 23 months of age, persons with chronic health conditions, such as asthma and diabetes, and people with weakened immune systems. Healthy people who are not in the high-risk groups should not get the shot this year.
The additional 22,500 shots will be distributed to Arizona’s 15 county health departments based on each county’s population of high-risk individuals.
The Department of Health Services ordered the additional doses in May for a mass-vaccination training exercise as part of the agency’s emergency preparedness program. That event was canceled after the nationwide flu vaccine shortage emerged; the vaccine instead will be targeted to high-risk individuals.
The Department also has ordered through its immunization program up to 164,000 doses for Medicaid-eligible, uninsured and at-risk children. All of these doses were ordered through Aventis-Pasteur.
Private health care providers, immunization clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities and some large employers have also purchased flu vaccine. Individuals seeking flu shots should contact their health care provider, clinic or local health department.
In addition, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that an additional 2.6 million doses of flu vaccine will be distributed nationwide in January.
Healthy individuals age 5-49 this year may also use FluMist, the first nasally administered influenza vaccine to be marketed in the United States.