H1N1 vaccinations arrive this week

El Paso County will begin to receive the first doses of H1N1 flu vaccination by the end of this week.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is distributing an initial 53,800 doses of the vaccination that are part of 2 million doses distributed nationally. By the end of flu season, Colorado should receive 1 million doses of the flu vaccination, public health officials said.

The initial doses – FluMist nasal spray – will be made available for the vaccination of health care workers. Later doses will be shipped weekly to enrolled private providers and local public health agencies throughout Colorado.

State health officials said the second allocation of the vaccine will begin  Oct. 9 and is estimated to total 4 million nationally, with an estimated 64,000 doses for Colorado. Quantities are expected to jump in week three both nationally and in Colorado.

Overall, Colorado expects to receive 1.6 percent of the national 2009 H1N1 vaccine supply and anticipates eventually having enough vaccine for all people who want to be vaccinated.

Because FluMist uses a live, although weakened virus, there are additional restrictions placed on its use. Health care workers who get this vaccine must be healthy, 49 years of age or younger and cannot work directly with immunosuppressed patients.

Additionally, FluMist is not recommended for pregnant women. Colorado expects to receive the influenza vaccine recommended for pregnant women in the subsequent weeks following the initial shipment in early October.

The highest priority individuals for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine including the following:

  • Pregnant women
  • Household contacts of children under 6 months of age
  • Health care workers with patient care responsibilities
  • Children between 6 months and 4 years of age
    Children 5 years to 18 years of age with underlying risk conditions
    For ongoing information about both seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine, visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Web site at www.colorado.gov/nofluforyou or call the CO HELP line for answers to seasonal and H1N1 influenza questions at 1-877-462-2911.