H1N1 Vaccine Supply Problems Offer Lessons for California Officials
Distribution problems with the vaccine for H1N1 influenza, also known as swine flu, could help California health officials better prepare for future disease outbreaks, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Earlier this fall, the state was forced to rework its H1N1 vaccine distribution plan after manufacturing problems resulted in a nationwide shortage of doses.
In response to the shortage, officials decided that the first vaccine shipments would go to organizations that could vaccinate large numbers of at-risk populations.
Therefore, many local public health departments received the first batch of vaccine doses, as did Kaiser Permanente, the state's largest HMO.
Some critics contend that the state's distribution plan shortchanged counties that planned to rely on private health care providers for vaccinations. In addition, some specialized health care providers, such as children's hospitals, missed out on the initial vaccine shipments.
Although California's distribution plans caused frustration among some local agencies, officials say they will use the experience to improve future disease response efforts (Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/14).
H1N1 in California
In related news, Director of the California Department of Public Health Mark Horton recently estimated that between 10.9% and 13.6% of California's population has contracted H1N1 flu since April of this year.
The projection puts California's H1N1 prevalence slightly below nationwide rates. Last week, CDC estimated that about 15% of the country has contracted the virus (Hall, "Healthy Living," Orange County Register, 12/11).
H1N1 in Sacramento County
Meanwhile, Sacramento County residents living in low-income areas are about eight times more likely to be hospitalized by H1N1 than residents of higher-income areas, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis. The analysis found that low-income residents also are more likely to die from the virus (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 12/13).Although Sacramento County has opened up its H1N1 vaccine clinics to all residents, many neighboring counties still are limiting their vaccine supplies to at-risk populations (Tong, Sacramento Bee, 12/12). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.