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H1N1 vaccine recall affects Watauga County

Article Published: Dec. 23, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Though Watauga County received some of the H1N1 vaccines that have recently been recalled, there are no safety concerns and no recommendations for action.

A recall of 800,000 H1N1 vaccines targeted for toddlers was issued last week. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, there is no safety issue with the vaccines that were shipped.
Instead, the potency of a particular lot of vaccine declined during shipping, leading officials to suspect it might not be strong enough to stave off the virus.

Since the recalled vaccine is only slightly below the potency standard established for the vaccine, those who received the vaccine are not advised to get another. However, they should get the second vaccine as recommended for all those 10 and under.

The second vaccine should be taken a month after the first.

The recalled vaccines were designed for those aged six months to 35 months. Jennifer Greene, health educator for the Watauga County Health Department, said the local health department had no doses of the recalled vaccine.

Blue Ridge Pedatric & Adolescent Medicine in Boone had received some of the recalled vaccines, and administered 198 of the vaccines before the office learned of the recall.

Those doses were given out between late November and early December in the designated 6-35 month age range.

Anyone who received the vaccine is advised to take no action besides getting the recommended follow-up vaccine in 30 days.

North Carolina has been allocated 2.8 million H1N1 vaccines, and 2.4 million have been shipped.
The CDC reported that visits to doctors for influenza-like illness decreased again this week over last week, according to the Dec. 11 report.

It's the sixth consecutive week of national decreases in such illnesses after four consecutive weeks of sharp increases.

While the number has declined, visits to doctors for influenza-like illness remain elevated over historic levels for this time of year. All states have reported some level of H1N1 activity, with North Carolina rated as having "regional activity."

Deaths from pneumonia and flu have increased over a 10-week period, with 16 pediatric deaths recorded in the U.S. last week.

Thirteen of those were attributed to the H1N1 virus.

Since April, H1N1 has caused 267 pediatric deaths.

From Aug. 30 to Dec. 5, all strains of flu have led to 33,490 hospitalizations and 1,445 deaths.
Greene said the health department has a limited supply of the regular seasonal flu vaccine available, the last it will receive this year.

While nationwide flu cases are dropping, health officials are still encouraging people to get vaccines before the traditional flu season rolls around after the holidays.

Both the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines are recommended, with a number of local businesses and health-care practitioners hosting vaccine clinics.

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