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posted on December 23, 2009 13:48

A national poll shows only 22 percent of adults targeted to receive the H1N1 flu vaccine have received it so far. With vaccine widely available, public health officials say now is the time for people with chronic health conditions to get vaccinated.

 
National data shows that asthma and other chronic lung diseases are the primary underlying conditions among people hospitalized with severe H1N1 infections. Many people might not realize that having asthma puts them at greater risk. It’s important for all adults with chronic health conditions to protect themselves by getting vaccinated before the New Year.
 
Second dose for children: Parents are reminded that children six months through 9 years of age need two doses of vaccine about a month apart to be protected against illness. Infants less than 6 months of age cannot receive the vaccine. Help protect infants you are around by getting vaccinated now.
 
H1N1 Vaccine: MedImmune, the manufacturer of the H1N1 nasal spray vaccine, is recalling some lots of the nasal spray because potency may be falling below a pre-specified limit. The lots were distributed from October through early November. Health officials believe most doses from these lots have been administered and were fully potent at the time of vaccination. People who received the vaccine do not need to be revaccinated.
 
H1N1 vaccine is available in many local pharmacies. Check your local public health district for information about upcoming clinics and vaccine availability. Health district web sites can be accessed at www.panflu.idaho.gov. As of December 22, Idaho has been allocated a total of 527,400 doses* of 2009 H1N1 vaccine. (*Vaccine allocation numbers can change daily; allotments by the CDC are made on a day-to-day basis.)
 
Confirmed cases and hospitalizations: Reports of flu are decreasing in Idaho and around the country. However, influenza is unpredictable, and health officials expect continued flu activity throughout the winter. Since Sept. 1, there have 821 laboratory-confirmed H1N1 cases reported in Idaho. A total of 378 influenza-related hospitalizations have been reported since Sept. 1.
 
About 95 percent of lab-confirmed cases in Idaho have been in people under the age of 65. The highest number of hospitalizations has been in children less than 10 years of age. This is highly unusual for influenza infections and supports the importance of continued efforts to immunize young children to prevent severe H1N1 disease.
 
Deaths: H1N1 infections have contributed to the reported deaths of 20 Idahoans. Reports of additional deaths are under investigation. For more information on H1N1, please visit www.panflu.idaho.gov.