Friday, October 23, 2009

Paterson reverses mandatory H1N1 vaccines for health care workers as supplies run short

Gov. David. A. Paterson has announced that state Health Commissioner Richard Daines has suspended the mandatory seasonal and swine flu vaccination requirements for New York state health care workers.

In his announcement, Paterson said, “Over the last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged that New York would only receive approximately 23 percent of its anticipated vaccine supply by the end of the month.”

The federal government had originally projected that 120 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine would be available nationwide by the end of October, however the CDC announced this week that only 23 percent of the original estimate, or 27.7, million doses would be available by this date. Daines said the Department of Health told hospitals that if the choice had to be made between vaccinating patients or employees, patients should come first.

The priority cases for vaccination spelled out by the CDC include pregnant women, children and young people between 6 months and 24 years old, people who care for infants under six months, because those infants cannot be vaccinated, people between the ages of 25-64 years old with medical conditions and health care workers.

Daines urged health care workers to be vaccinated when enough vaccinations become available, but said that “New evidence is showing H1N1 can be extremely virulent to pregnant women and young people — so they should be vaccinated first.”

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