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38,000 flu vaccine doses on the way

The Mirror

King County will receive approximately 38,000 doses of adult flu vaccine during the next six weeks as part of a national distribution of the remaining antidote in the U.S.

The vaccine coming here is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s allotment of 162,000-dose allotment for Washington, the Seattle-King County Public Health Department announced Monday.

The new doses will be added to approximately 22,000 already ordered and received by the department, giving the health agency about 60,000 that will be rationed in the weeks to come.

Pierce County will receive about 17,000 doses of the newly released vaccine.

As since a nationwide shortage of vaccine developed in October, the new supply will be reserved for people most at-risk of serious complications from influenza. They include children under 2 years old, adults 65 and older, anyone with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, nursing home residents and long-term care patients.

Health Department plans for distributing available doses of vaccine include:

• 11,000 to nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

• 15,000 to public flu clinics conducted by healthcare organizations. • 20,000 to hospitals and physicians to administer to the public.

• 12,000 to community and public health clinics, including the county’s clinic in Federal Way.

• 2,000 to hospitals for immunizing their healthcare workers who treat high-risk.

“Our goal is to make sure that the vaccine gets to people throughout King County at high-risk for severe influenza,” said Dr. Alonzo Plough, director of the Health Department.

In mid-October, federal health authorities announced none of the vaccine manufactured by Chiron Corp. for the U.S. was safe as a result of bacterial contamination. That cut the national supply in half. Since then, the county Health Department has directed vaccine providers to prioritize at-risk people and has monitored the supply of vaccine for 84 nursing homes, major hospitals, 32 community and public health centers and 200-plus medical organizations and private physicians.

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