As the state receives more H1N1 vaccines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), "those doses will continue to be given to priority groups first. These include pregnant women, children ages two months to 24 years, health care workers and emergency medical responders, people caring for infants under six months of age, and people ages 25-64 years with underlying health conditions (like asthma and diabetes)," the release said.
The CDC is releasing two types of H1N1 vaccine: "nasal spray flu vaccine (sometimes called LAIV for Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine) is a vaccine made with live, weakened viruses that cannot grow at normal body temperature and is given via a nasal sprayer. This vaccine was approved for seasonal influenza viruses in 2003 and tens of millions of doses of the vaccine have been given in the United States," according to the CDC Web site.
The nasal-spray flu vaccine is approved for use only in healthy people, indicated as a person who does not have an underlying medical condition that predisposes them to influenza complications, and age 2 years to 49 years who are not pregnant, according CDC to the Web site.
Shot vaccines of H1N1 will be made available for children ages six months to 2 years and pregnant women on a limited basis at Mass Clinics around the state, said Ann Wright, director of communication for the Arkansas Department of Health. High risk individuals are encouraged to take the H1N1 shot despite any minor risk.
"Any time you take any medication there is some risk involved," Wright said. "The risk is not of taking a flu shot and contracting flu. Especially if you are one of the high risk, getting the shot is suggested."
"We've already had 11 deaths this season from H1N1 alone," Wright said. Taking both vaccines at once does not increase the risk, Wright said.
An itemized list of those who should not receive the H1N1 nasal spray are as follows: "people younger than two years of age; pregnant women; people 50 years of age and older; people with a medical condition that places them at higher risk for complications from influenza, including those with chronic heart or lung disease, such as asthma or reactive airways disease; people with medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney failure; or people with illnesses that weaken the immune system, or who take medications that can weaken the immune system; children younger than 5 years old with a history of recurrent wheezing; children or adolescents receiving aspirin therapy; people who have had Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system; within six weeks of getting a flu vaccine, people who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs or who are allergic to any of the nasal spray vaccine components," according to the CDC Web site.
Parents giving permission for students to receive the H1N1 vaccination by injection or spray, were required by the ADH to complete the 2009 Influenza Immunization Reporting Form. It informed parents that two kinds of immunization for H1N1 are available, and that their answers to the form would allow the county health unit staff to determine which type of vaccine would be best for each student, said Wanda Koelling, administrator for Fulton County Health Unit.
The form was an effort to determine if the H1N1 nasal spray would be too strong for a student's immune system.
MedImmune, one of the makers of the H1N1 nasal spray, announced Oct. 22 in an online press release "that interim data from human studies of its nasal spray vaccine for the 2009 novel Influenza A (H1N1) virus demonstrate a similar clinical profile in children and adults 2 to 49 years of age as previously studied seasonal formulations of the vaccine. The live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) for the 2009 novel Influenza A (H1N1) virus received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 15."