Flu vaccines starting to arrive
State health officials say Nevada now has received about 200,000 doses of swine flu vaccine.
State Health Officer Tracey Green agreed that’s slower than officials had expected and hoped for. But she said shipments are beginning to come in faster and she expects the state will have its full allocation of 1.4 million doses of H1N1 vaccine by January.
She said, however, the H1N1 flu season could last longer than normal flu seasons, which generally end in March. In addition, Green said, unlike normal strains, H1N1 may not go away after this flu season – that it may return next fall.
“We don’t know what the season will be but we do expect to see this flu again next year,” she told the Legislative Study Committee on Health on Tuesday.
Green said thus far, there have been 2,323 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in Nevada and 60 probable cases.
She said there have been 18 deaths in the state
In addition to vaccines, Green said a number of measures are being considered to slow the spread of the virus.
She said those include isolation and treatment of all people with confirmed infections, voluntary home quarantine of household members, dismissal of students from schools and colleges and closure of child care programs.
She said recommendations are also being made to increase “social distancing” to reduce contact between adults in the community and workplace. She said that may include canceling large public gatherings and altering workplace environments.
She said a public information campaign is being prepared including public service announcements for Nevada broadcasters and advertisements for 16 newspapers in the state. A Web site dedicated to H1N1 has also been set up at flu.nv.gov which will be updated daily with health information. That site includes a flu vaccine locator for people seeking a vaccination.
Currently, vaccinations are available for priority groups including pregnant women, people who live with or care for children under six months of age, health care and emergency medical personnel with direct patient contact and those people up to 24 years old or any age with chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.