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DHS news release

Nov. 30, 2004

Contact: Bonnie Widerburg (503) 731-4180

Technical contact: Grant Higginson, M.D. (503) 731-4000


Oregon receives 92,000 doses of flu vaccine

Oregon's share of the nation's available flu vaccine, about 92,000 doses, has arrived at the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) and will be distributed around the state by the end of the week.


Grant Higginson, M.D., state public health officer in DHS, said Tuesday that the vaccine will be sent to some private providers and local health departments.


"The doses have been allocated within each county based on a formula that is intended to make vaccine supplies equitable throughout the state," Higginson said. "This formula was established in consultation with local health departments, who have been and will continue to work with vaccine providers in their communities.


"This offers plenty of time for high-priority people to get vaccinated against influenza," said Higginson. "We strongly encourage these folks to be persistent in seeking a flu shot."


Higginson cautioned people not to start calling for vaccination information until next week, to allow time for doses to be transported out from DHS to the rest of the state.


Beginning next week, people should call their health care provider to see if they will have additional vaccine. If not, they can call the state Flu Hotline at (800) 978-3040 statewide or (503) 872-6900 in the Portland metro area to find a clinic in their area.


The arrival of the 92,000 doses brings Oregon's allotment of flu vaccine this year to about half of what was originally ordered, but is about what public health officials expected due to the national vaccine shortage, according to Higginson.


An additional 33,000 doses of national flu vaccine has been earmarked for Oregon and could be delivered in January. However, DHS will order the vaccine only if there continues to be a demand for it into 2005, Higginson said.


To ensure those people at greatest risk of serious complications from the flu are covered, Oregon's vaccine prioritization plan allows vaccination only for those in the following groups:

  • Children ages 6-23 months;
  • Adults ages 65 and older;
  • Anyone ages 2 to 64 with underlying chronic medical conditions;
  • Women who will be pregnant during influenza season;
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
  • Children ages 6 months to 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy;
  • Health-care workers who deliver direct patient care; and
  • Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children under 6 months.