CDC says vaccine shortage likely to outlast current H1N1 wave

first_imgNov 4, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted today that the current wave of H1N1 influenza is likely to begin to wane before the shortage of vaccine for it eases.Dr. Thomas Frieden made the comment at a wide-ranging US House subcommittee session that aired the reasons for and impact of the vaccine delays and the prospects for avoiding a repeat of the problem. The session was streamed over the Web.”It’s likely that the current wave of infection will peak, crest, and begin to decline before there are ample supplies,” Frieden told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. “Whether there’ll be another wave of H1N1 between now and May and whether we’ll get a different strain, only time will tell.”In a similar vein, an Alabama health official said there may not be enough vaccine doses to immunize people outside the priority groups until late December. He and other officials said the vaccine shortage has hurt the credibility of public health at all levels.In other comments, federal health officials described the slow growth of the vaccine virus as the fundamental reason for the current vaccine shortage and suggested that vaccine production difficulties are likely to continue as long as the process relies on growing actual flu viruses, as opposed to producing specific viral proteins.’Virus seems to be winning’Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chair of the subcommittee, voiced frustration over the vaccine shortage and said the same kinds of problems in flu vaccine production were discussed back in 2004 and 2005. In opening the session, he said the nation has made significant strides since the pandemic virus emerged, “but despite some successes, the virus seems to be winning.”In a brief update on the H1N1 situation, Frieden said the nation has now had “many, many millions of cases” of the illness, well over 20,000 hospitalizations, and more than 1,000 deaths, including 114 children.He asserted that the illness “is no more severe than seasonal flu” but affects a different pattern of age-groups, as more than 90% of deaths are in people younger than 65—a sharp contrast to the seasonal virus.As for the vaccine supply, Frieden said, “With 20-20 hindsight it’s clear we should have been more skeptical” about projections of production timing.Dr. Nicole Lurie, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) assistant secretary for preparedness and response, said the cumulative vaccine production today reached 32.4 million doses. Despite repeated questions by the committee, she and Frieden firmly refused to make any new predictions about the flow of vaccine.”To be quite honest, flu is really unpredictable, and we’re very hesitant about projecting forward more than week to week, largely because anything could happen,” said Lurie.Shortage’s impact on states and localitiesDr. Donald Williamson, Alabama’s state health officer, said the vaccine shortage has forced Alabama to change its H1N1 vaccination strategy.In September Alabama officials were told they could expect to get about 800,000 doses of vaccine by the end of October, but by Oct 23 the estimated amount was cut to about 400,000 doses, Williamson reported.”Current projections show that 62% of the vaccine coming to Alabama won’t be available until after December 1,” he said. Further, it may not be possible to expand the vaccine to all Alabamans who want it until late December or January.Because of the shortfall, the state decided to focus its vaccination efforts on the subpriority groups identified by the CDC and the providers most likely to serve them, rather than the broader priority groups. (The subpriority groups are pregnant women, healthcare workers, children 6 months through 4 years old, caregivers of babies under 6 months, and children between 5 and 18 with health conditions that put them at risk.)In line with the strategy switch, school-based vaccination clinics have been postponed until late November or early December, Williamson said.Rob Fulton, director of the St. Paul–Ramsey County Public Health Department in Minnesota, told the committee, “We know that the credibility of the entire public health system is in question because of the slow arrival of vaccine.”Like Williamson, he said the slow flow of doses is disrupting vaccination plans. For example, he said the county is anticipating getting 7,800 doses for school children age 9 and under, but the actual population in this age-group is 20,000. (Two doses of vaccine are recommended for children under age 10.)Fulton also commented that 135 of his department’s 320 employees are involved in the H1N1 response at least part-time, which means they have less time to spend on their regular work.Williamson said the vaccine shortage not only undermines public health’s credibility, but also leads people to question the vaccine’s safety. He also voiced concern about the public’s willingness to get the immunization later in the season when supplies finally improve.Root of the problemIn discussion about the cause of the vaccine delays, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said the basic problem was the slow growth of the vaccine virus in eggs, in combination with the timing of the epidemic.The virus emerged in April, about 3 months later than planning for seasonal flu vaccine normally begins, he said. Then the virus never went away in the summer and was waiting when children went back to school, sparking an epidemic much earlier in the fall than usual, he added.”You have flu waiting for you when the kids go back to school and you have a slow grower, that’s the answer,” Fauci said.Obey asked if the need to provide some vaccine free of thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, contributed to the vaccine delays. Thimerosal-free vaccine is produced in individual syringes; putting vaccine in multidose vials is faster but requires thimerosal.Fauci said production of thimerosal-free vaccine probably contributed “a bit” to delays, but was not the major issue. “The fundamental basic problem is the virus not growing well,” he said.Lurie said one of the steps HHS has taken to speed production was to ask the manufacturers to shift production to multidose vials as much as possible.She acknowledged that HHS so far has ordered the filling and finishing of only 117 million of the total 250 million doses of bulk vaccine it has contracted for. “This week we’ve issued orders for more vaccine [to be filled and finished] so we don’t have a gap,” she said. “That 117 million has taken us further into the year than we thought it would.”Lurie said the agency is using a staged approach to filling and finishing because it doesn’t want to have a lot of leftover finished vaccine. “It’s better to keep it in bulk form so it could be used in the seasonal campaign next year or could be used potentially in the developing world.”Fauci asserted that the vaccine makers are not to blame for the vaccine delays. “I don’t want anyone to get the impression that it’s the drug companies’ fault this has happened,” he said. “It’s just the nature of the biology of the virus that it created an expectation that there’d be a certain amount.”The ‘end game’ for vaccine technologyFederal officials were questioned about the use of cell-based methods to make flu vaccines, as is now done to some extent in Europe. Cell-based production is considered more flexible and reliable and somewhat faster than the 1950s method of growing the vaccine virus in chicken eggs.Lurie noted that a cell-based vaccine plant is being built by Novartis in North Carolina and is expected to be ready to start making vaccine in 2011. But how soon a cell-based flu vaccine will win Food and Drug Administration approval is uncertain, she added.The Novartis plant “will get us a little shy of halfway to what our pandemic goal will be,” to make enough vaccine for the entire population, she said.Fauci said cell-based technology will be an improvement but is not the final answer to flu vaccine production problems. “We want to take vaccinology into the 21st century by not requiring the virus to grow. . . . The end game is to get away from requiring the virus to grow.”He said a number of newer approaches involve making particular viral proteins instead of growing the whole virus. One example is using baculovirus, an insect virus, to make the gene for hemagglutinin. He said one company is conducting phase 3 trials of a vaccine using that technique.”What we’re going to see over the next years is a gradual transition from egg-based [vaccine] to egg-based with cell-based to advanced molecular technology,” Fauci predicted.But the ultimate goal, he said, is to make a universal flu vaccine—one that targets a component of the flu virus that doesn’t change from season to season. Such a vaccine could be made and stored in large quantities, and people wouldn’t have to be vaccinated every year.”That’s the plan. That’s going to take years,” he said.last_img read more

Wellington Police Notes: Tuesday, March 19, 2013

first_imgWellington Police Notes for Tuesday, March 19, 2013•6:11 a.m.  Roberto C. Perez-Candela, 25, Clinton, Okla, was issued a notice to appear charged with Speeding 57 mph in a 45 mph zone.•10:58 a.m. Lindsey R. Stone, 27, Hoisington, Kans. was arrested on a city of Wellington warrant for battery and disorderly conduct. (bonded)•11:10 a.m. Non-Injury accident in the 900 block. W. 7th, Wellington involving a vehicle operated by J ames E. Brawley, 80, Wellington and a parked and unoccupied vehicle owned by Arthur F. Bunyan, Wellington.•3 p.m. William B. Brown, 43, Wellington was issued a notice to appear charged with dogs at large.•4:46 p.m. Officers took a report of suspicious activity in the 1600 block W. 8th, Wellington.•8:14 p.m. Officer investigated a theft of a vehicle in the 1000 block N. A, Wellington.•8:34 p.m. Officers investigated a theft of a vehicle in the 1400 block E. 16th, Wellington.•9:12 p.m. Officers recovered a stolen vehicle in the 2000 block E. 16th, Wellington (outside agency assist).last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter One of the worlds bes

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterOne of the world’s best-loved and most highly awarded actresses and singers, Elaine Paige, will serve as godmother to Seabourn’s elegant new all-suite ship, Seabourn Ovation.The naming ceremony will take place Friday 11 May, in the baroque harbour of Valletta, Malta during a ceremony that will light up the dramatic UNESCO World Heritage site and the 2018 European Capital of Culture. Seabourn enjoys a multi-year partnership with UNESCO to support their efforts to protect World Heritage sites around the world.“Elaine’s talents are boundless and, like Seabourn, the world is her stage and she is constantly seeking out new adventures,” said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. “She has created so many memories for her audiences, just as we do for our guests, on every voyage they take. We are thrilled to have such an accomplished performer launch Seabourn Ovation on her maiden voyage.”“I am so honoured to have been asked to be Godmother to Seabourn Ovation,” said Elaine Paige. “Seabourn’s legendary service has the same DNA as a hit West End show: a dedicated cast of professionals who all come together to deliver a superb performance, whatever their role. I can’t wait to board the beautiful Seabourn Ovation and send her off into the world!”Elaine Paige’s biography reads like a “who’s who” of the stage musical. She originated the role of Eva Peron in Evita, followed by Grizabella in Cats and Florence in Chess. She has starred in more smash hit West End and Broadway musicals than anyone else of her generation – from Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Anything Goes, Sunset Boulevard, to The King & I; Sweeney Todd and Follies – and many more.With a glittering roster of accolades, Elaine bears the unofficial title of “The First Lady of British Musical Theatre.” She has defined musicals and has set the gold standard. In 1995, she was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to Musical Theatre by HM Queen Elizabeth II.A thrilling live performer, Elaine has delighted audiences around the world, from The White House, The Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and The Sydney Opera House to The Bolshoi, New York’s Lincoln Center, and London’s Royal Albert Hall. She has recorded 22 solo albums, has been featured on seven cast albums, and earned eight consecutive gold and four multi-platinum discs, achieving chart topping hits including signature tunes Don’t Cry for Me Argentina and I Know Him So Well.Her television work includes drama on BBC & ITV, her own series on SKY Arts, and more roles to be aired on BBC & ITV this year. She continues to host her BBC Radio 2 show, Elaine Paige On Sunday, regularly attracting 2.5 million listeners every week.When not performing, Elaine works tirelessly for charities including The Children’s Trust. She is president for the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust, an Ambassador to the Royal Voluntary Service and an Artistic Associate of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Other charities include Breast Cancer Campaign, the Royal Academy of Dance Silver Swans, and Support Dogs amongst many others.Seabourn Ovation is the fifth ultra-luxury ship in the Seabourn fleet. With stunning contemporary interiors by design icon Adam D. Tihany, culinary expertise by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller, specially commissioned entertainment by Sir Tim Rice and an exciting programme of on-board speakers, the ship will sail on a variety of voyages in and around Europe between May and November 2018, hailing at ports throughout Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.Seabourn Ovation will expand and build on the line’s award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionised ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodation and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. A sister ship to Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation will maintain the line’s high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalised service.Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more