OHSU Lends Oregon Health Division 1,300 Doses of Flu Vaccine

12/11/00    Portland, Ore.

Vaccine Now Will Be Distributed to Those at High Risk for Contracting the Flu

It is the beginning of flu season, yet many health professionals and people at high risk for the flu are still waiting for flu vaccines. Oregon health care providers ordered vaccine, but did not receive shipment as scheduled. The vaccine shipments have been delayed due to manufacturing production problems. Oregon Health Sciences University was fortunate to receive its ordered supply and lent the Oregon Health Division 1,300 of those doses recently.

"It was important for OHSU to loan flu vaccines because other health care providers have not gotten their supplies yet due to the delay. We want to ensure that high-risk patients received adequate protection during the flu season," said Kate Farthing, Pharm.D., OHSU pharmacist.

The Oregon Health Division accepted OHSU's loan with open arms. They distributed 650 vaccines to county health departments and immunization programs, and 650 went to private providers under the health division's Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. VFC distributes immunizations to health care providers who care for high-risk children, American Indians, Medicaid recipients and those without health insurance.

"This loan is greatly appreciated. We are distributing vaccine directly to health care providers who will assure that Oregon's vulnerable populations are given this necessary item to protect them from the flu this year," said Martin Wasserman, M.D., administrator at the state health division.

The flu vaccine is the best method of preventing influenza and associated complications. It is extremely important that the flu vaccine is available to high-risk people, including the elderly, those with weak immune systems and those with chronic cardiac or respiratory problems. Although Oregon Health Division asserts children are infected by influenza more often than adults, people age 65 years and older and those with medical conditions are at much higher risk for complications, some of which may lead to death. Influenza is responsible for 20,000 deaths nationally per year among the high-risk elderly and children.