State reprioritizes H1N1 vaccine distribution guidelines - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

State reprioritizes H1N1 vaccine distribution guidelines

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin health officials are urging only those in the most sensitive groups to be vaccinated for the H1N1 flu virus.  The new strategy comes as officials expressed frustration over the nationwide shortage of the vaccine.

To date, the state has received about 407,000 doses of the vaccine.  That's just more than half of what Wisconsin expected.

On Tuesday afternoon, Health Services Secretary Karen Timberlake and State Health Officer Dr. Seth Foldy announced the new guidelines, which follow CDC recommendations.

After this week, there should be no mass vaccinations.  At ones that are scheduled between now and then, clinic workers are being strongly encouraged to turn people away at the door who aren't in one of the most sensitive groups.

"We are asking people who are not in our prime target group now to chill out, step back," said Foldy.  "If you know people who fall into these high risk groups, help make sure that they find their way to the vaccine."

The sensitive groups include:

  • pregnant women
  • people living with or caring for infants younger than six months old.
  • health care workers who deal directly with patients or infectious materials.
  • children between six months and four years old
  • children between 5 and 18 years old who have chronic medical conditions

The best advice to find out who is eligible and where a local vaccination clinic might be taking place is to call 211, or visit the state's pandemic website.

State health officials expect these restrictions to realistically be in place for about two months until the doses arrive in larger amounts, but they cautions that the distribution schedule can be unpredictable.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- State health officials appear to be following the lead of Public Health Madison & Dane County, in reprioritizing the distribution of the H1N1 influenza vaccine, caused by slower than expected delivery by suppliers.

Tuesday afternoon, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Karen Timberlake and Dr. Seth Foldy, State Health Officer, updated the state's situation, detailing that Wisconsin had hope for approximately 700,000 doses of the vaccine but only received about half that much.

27's Carl Agnelly attended the briefing and will have a full update on 27 News at 5, & 6.

Below is the entire news release from Department of Health Services:

State Recommends Prioritization of H1N1 Vaccine DHS Urges Prioritization Within Target Groups Until Vaccine Supply Increases

The Department of Health Services (DHS) is recommending that local health departments and health professionals target H1N1 vaccine for those individuals most-at-risk during the next several weeks as the vaccine supply continues to fluctuate. DHS has also requested that, beginning next week, public and private health care providers refrain from mass public vaccination clinics, unless they are targeted at those most at risk. As of today, Wisconsin has been allocated a total of 407,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine.

"As we have seen in every state in the nation, the supply of H1N1 vaccine is unpredictable. Therefore, the safest course of action is to target the vaccine we do have for those who are most-at-risk of becoming seriously ill from this virus," says Secretary Karen Timberlake. "While we do not anticipate this will need to be a long-term strategy, we’ve issued guidance to help our health professionals make the largest impact with the vaccine that is available."

DHS is now recommending that the public health and health care community focus vaccination efforts on the following subset of CDC’s target groups: or

  • Pregnant women
  • Persons who live with or provide care for infants age 6 months or younger (examples: parents, siblings, daycare providers)
  • Health care and emergency medical services personnel who have direct contact with patients or infectious material
  • Children age 6 months - 4 years
  • Children and adolescents age 5-18 years who have chronic medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications (see attached letter for list of chronic medical conditions)

These recommendations are consistent with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidelines when vaccine supply is limited. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices advises the CDC.

“The CDC had to choose between waiting to distribute vaccine until it had large quantities ready to be shipped or distributing limited quantities of the vaccine sooner,” says Secretary Timberlake. “The CDC chose the latter knowing it would create some challenges and frustrations for health care providers and the public, but also realizing it would allow us to start protecting people against this virus as soon as possible.”

Community vaccination clinics will resume as H1N1 vaccine becomes more readily available. People may call 2-1-1 to find out an H1N1 or seasonal influenza vaccine clinic nearest them. A “clinic finder” is also available online at or

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