H1N1 Update: UK Offers Vaccine to All Young Children

Vaccinations will be offered for those up to five years old, even if they have no underlying medical condition.

British authorities today said an H1N1 influenza shot will be offered to every child up to five years of age, even children who have no underlying medical condition. H1N1 flu continues to hit this age group hardest in Britain, according to the Department of Health. The Health Protection Agency estimates 668,000 total H1N1 cases to date. Children younger than 16 are the age group most likely to be hospitalized because of H1N1 flu in Britain, and 21 percent of deaths in England are people younger than 14s.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said as of Nov. 16, CDC had allocated 5.29 million doses of vaccine to the state, and CDPH had filled orders for 5.19 million doses -- enough vaccine for about 13.4 percent of California's population. "We are proud of our efforts, working with our local partners, to ensure that all the H1N1 vaccine allotted to California moves from federal suppliers to California communities as quickly as possible," said Mark Horton, CDPH's director. "While delay in vaccine supply has caused considerable frustration, we urge Californians – especially those in targeted groups – to remain patient and stay current on the availability of vaccine in your community."

H1N1 flu has caused more than 5,000 hospitalizations in California and killed 297 people there so far, according to Horton.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has published new H1N1 guidance for blood collection facilities and personnel. No case of transfusion-transmitted seasonal flu has ever been reported, nor has a single case of transfusion-transmitted H1N1 flu been reported, the guidance states. It recommends following CDC's interim guidance for infection control at blood and plasma collection facilities and training backup personnel for each critical function to be ready for possible personnel shortages caused by the flu pandemic.

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