Maine CDC Press Release

December 17, 2004

Health Officials Urge Mainers in High Risk Groups to Get Their Flu Shots

Contact: Lani Graham, MD, MPH, Acting Director
  Kathleen Gensheimer, MD, MPH, State Epidemiologist
  Bureau of Health
  11 State House Station
  Tel: (207) 287-8016
  TTY: (207) 287-8066

Augusta -- Dr. Lani Graham, acting director of the Department of Health and Human Service’s Bureau of Health, announced today that additional groups of high risk individuals should now receive their flu vaccine.

The announcement was made after the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended expanding the high risk groups to be vaccinated against influenza to all persons over the age of 50 and to persons who are caregivers for those in the high risk groups. Maine is prepared to move forward and serve these additional groups now based on its tracking of vaccine availability at the local level. ACIP had noted that some states may not be ready to move forward until after January 3rd.

Following the October 5th announcement that the Chiron company, one of the only two flu vaccine suppliers, was going to be unable to fill vaccine orders for the State, the Department of Health and Human Services had recommended vaccinating a limited group of persons deemed to be at highest risk of complications from influenza in order to prioritize vaccine to those most in need. Due to the efforts of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Aventis Pasteur, the remaining vaccine supplier, the Bureau of Health has now received and distributed about 160,000 doses of flu vaccine. We are now further expanding our list of those eligible to receive the flu vaccine to those in the list below in accordance with ACIP:

Persons age 50 or older Women who will be pregnant during the Influenza season Persons with chronic medical conditions Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities Children 6-23 months Health care workers involved in direct patient care Out of Home caregivers and household contacts of children younger than six months of age and other persons at high risk

"We'd like to thank healthy Mainers who have held back from being vaccinated this season. It has meant that all those at highest risk for severe illness, or even potentially death, were able to get access to the vaccine first and that we have enough vaccine to expand our recommended groups again”, said Dr. Graham.

However, based on a recent survey done by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, it is likely that there are still many high risk Mainers who have not received a flu shot. Continued efforts are necessary to make sure that every high-risk person who wants the vaccine gets it. Dr. Graham encouraged persons seeking flu vaccination to contact their health care provider or to attend one of the scheduled clinics.

In order to serve this new population of persons who are eligible to receive the flu vaccine along with those previously considered to be high-risk, there will be a number of private and public health clinics set up over the next few weeks around the state. The Department of Health and Human Services (Bureau of Health) will sponsor public clinics around the state staffed by Public Health Nurses (lists attached). All information will also be posted on our web site at www.mainepublichealth.gov or by calling the Maine flu vaccine hotline at 1- 888-257-0990. The hotline will be staffed from at 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. beginning December 20th through December 23rd.

“To date, Maine has experienced sporadic influenza activity statewide, with one nursing home outbreak reported from Lincoln County, and it is impossible to predict when influenza activity will peak in Maine.” said Dr. Gensheimer, State Epidemiologist.

However, it is not too late for people in priority groups to be vaccinated, and receiving the flu vaccine could still protect those at greatest risk of complications" said Dr Graham, Acting State Health Officer. She concluded, “the sooner, the better.”

Upcoming Flu Vaccine Clinics (Information as of 12/17/04)

Sponsor: VNA Home Health Care

Town Date(s) Location Contact Number Scarborough Dec. 203:00-6:00 PM St. Maximillian Church150 Black Point RoadScarborough 780-8624 - VNA Westbrook Dec. 222:00-4:00 PM St. Mary’s Church629 Main StreetWestbrook 780-8624 - VNA

Sponsor: Portland Public Health

Town Date(s) Location Contact Number Portland Dec. 2010:00-12:00 AM St. Pius Church492 Ocean Ave.Portland 874-8446

Sponsor: Millinocket Hospital

Town Date(s) Location Contact Number Millinocket Dec. 208:00-10:00 AM Millinocket Regional Hospital200Somerset RoadMillinocket 723-5161

Sponsor: Public Health Nursing

All Clinics by appointment only for these locations Call 1-888-257-0990 December 20-23 8:00 – 11:30 AM and 1:00 - 4:00PM to schedule appointments Town Date(s) Location Contact Number Augusta Dec 28 & Dec 29 Department Health & Human Services35 Anthony Ave. Augusta Maine Flu Vaccine Hotline1-888-257-0990 Bangor Dec. 28 & Dec. 29 Department Health & Human Services396 Griffin Road Bangor Maine Flu Vaccine Hotline1-888-257-0990 Bath Dec. 28 Coastal Economic Development34 Wing Farm ParkwayBath Maine Flu Vaccine Hotline1-888-257-0990 Biddeford Dec. 28 Department Health & Human Services208 Graham StreetBiddeford Maine Flu Vaccine Hotline1-888-257-0990 Houlton Dec. 29 Department Health & Human Services11 High StreetHoulton Maine Flu Vaccine Hotline1-888-257-0990 Lewiston Dec. 28 & Dec. 30 Department Health & Human Services200 Main StreetLewiston Maine Flu Vaccine Hotline1-888-257-0990 Machias Dec. 29 Department Health & Human Services13 Prescott DriveMachias Maine Flu Vaccine Hotline1-888-257-0990 Sanford Dec. 30 Department Health & Human Services890 Main StreetSanford Maine Flu Vaccine Hotline1-888-257-0990