ABC Denver: Hospitals Shun H1N1 FluMist Vaccine

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Richard Moore

Oct 7, 2009, 6:28:30 AM10/7/09

    Hospitals Shun H1N1 FluMist Vaccine, Wait For Injections

    Concern That Doctors, Nurses Could Spread 'Live' Virus

    By Lance Hernandez, 7NEWS Reporter

    POSTED: 9:42 pm MDT October 5, 2009
    UPDATED: 7:53 am MDT October 6, 2009

    DENVER -- It now looks like Colorado’s first batch of H1N1 vaccine won’t arrive until Thursday.

    That’s when an estimated 54,000 doses of FluMist will be doled out to county health departments.

    Those departments, in turn, will deliver the mist to hospitals and clinics which have applied for the vaccine.

    But several metro area hospitals said they won’t be taking the FluMist because they don’t want to endanger patients.

    When asked if that meant that FluMist was dangerous, Lois VanFleet, infection prevention specialist at Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette said, "No, it's a very safe vaccine in healthy people."

    But, she said it’s made with a live virus, and that doctors and nurses who inhaled the live virus could shed some of it on patients whose immune systems are compromised.

    VanFleet said the staffs at Lutheran, St. Joseph’s and Good Samaritan Medical Centers will wait for the injected vaccine.

    "The injected vaccine is made with antibodies, not live virus," she said.

    Adam Dormuth said, "It's the same at National Jewish Medical Center. FluMist is not to be used on immuno-suppressed patients. A good number of ours are."

    Once the first batch of vaccine arrives in Colorado, it will be given to people based on priority.

    State health officials told 7NEWS that the highest priorities for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine include:

    •  Pregnant women
    •  Household contacts of children under 6 months of age
    •  Health care workers with patient care responsibilities
    •  Children between 6 months and 4 years of age
    •  Children 5 years to 18 years of age with underlying risk conditions

    Since FluMist is not recommended for pregnant woman, expectant moms will have to wait for the injected vaccine.

    It should begin arriving in Colorado later this month according to the state health department.

    Several local pediatricians told 7NEWS their phones are ringing off the hook with calls from parents inquiring about vaccinations for their children.

    Lafayette parent Lauren Huston said she’s concerned about possible side effects, so she won’t have her two children vaccinated for H1N1, but will have them vaccinated against the regular flu.

    "I’m concerned that the side effects could be worse that the flu itself," she said.

    But Tracy Ziemek said she’s looking forward to having her two boys vaccinated.

    "I’m worried about the swine flu," Ziemek said. "My sons are around other children and daycare. There are a lot of germs."

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