Swine Flu Vaccination Guidelines Updated

By KBJR News 2

August 6, 2010 Updated Nov 24, 2009 at 6:50 PM CDT

Posted by Trevor Roy

An increase in the supply of swine flu vaccine has prompted the Minnesota Department of Health to expand the scope of its immunization efforts.

This recent announcement comes after six deaths related to H1N1 have been reported in Duluth.

The month of November has seen the number of swine flu cases in Minnesota peak.

Unfortunately the month has also been deadly with six people dying from the illness in Duluth.

Of the six all but one had underlying conditions which may have contributed to the deaths.

However a thirty-two year old Duluth man with no underlying conditions succumbed to the disease.

SMDC infectious disease specialist Doctor Timothy Burke says the disease hits young people the hardest but fatalities from the virus are incredibly rare.

"It's very uncommon, but it can happen and we know that happens in seasonal influenza outbreaks, unfortunately it can still happen, thankfully it's quite uncommon."

Doctor Burke says secondary infection maybe just as dangerous as the flu itself.

"One of the things that can happen is what we call a secondary bacterial pneumonia can cause problems and we have seen this before, we've seen fatal cases in prior seasonal outbreaks."

Due to the increase of available vaccine, the Minnesota Health Department released new vaccination guidelines.

Previously only pregnant women, small children and people with underlying conditions were told to receive the vaccine now that has changed.

Kris Ehresmann with the Minnesota Department of Health "Those individuals we're encouraging to be vaccinated include children 6 months of age to 24 years, individuals 25 to 64 years of age who have a high risk medical condition, health care workers."

Department of Health officials say they've ordered nearly one-million doses of the h1n1 vaccine.

Starting November thirtieth the department of health will activate an online clinic locator for people waiting for the vaccine.