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FOR RELEASE: October 10, 2000
CONTACT: Dick Gunn

Flu Vaccine Update

Although the Oklahoma State Department of Health is still waiting delivery of flu vaccine to be shipped to its local county health departments and nursing homes, some vaccine may have reached private providers in the state.

All four manufacturers of flu vaccine have had difficulty in growing the A Panama strain, which is one of the new strains included in this year's vaccine. This delay, combined with actions taken by the federal Food and Drug Administration concerning manufacturing procedures of two of the manufacturers, has complicated this year's vaccine distribution.

The vendor for the Oklahoma State Department of Health's contracted 250,000 doses is Wyeth-Lederle. The company has told state health officials that it expects to send a partial shipment of flu vaccine later this month, with a majority of doses schedule for delivery in mid-November and early December. The state health department is aware that orders from other manufacturers may have reached some private providers in Oklahoma; however, most are still waiting their shipments.

Even with these shipment delays, there still should be plenty of time to get a flu shot before flu season arrives. With a delayed supply, it is important that people who are highly susceptible to flu complications, or persons that are likely to pass the flu virus to at-risk individuals, receive priority for early vaccine. These include adults 65 years of age or older, people with chronic health conditions, direct health care providers, and others who work with or care for at-risk individuals.


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