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MUSC prepares for influenza vaccines

by Linda Formby
Infection Control
The 2009/2010 Influenza Vaccine Campaign for staff and students promises to be challenging in a number of ways, but the university and hospital are preparing now in order to provide all appropriate and available vaccines to eligible staff and students.

The seasonal flu vaccine will be available in adequate numbers and all staff and students are again encouraged to get the vaccine. This year’s formulation covers three strains of flu including two A strains and one B strain, however, it does not protect against the novel H1N1 strain (swine) flu. Production of the seasonal flu vaccine was well underway and did not allow for the inclusion of the novel strain.

Clinical trials of the novel H1N1 flu vaccine are underway and will assess for safety, effectiveness and dosing. The vaccine is expected to be available in the fall and may require two injections spaced at least 21 days apart. Priority groups identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to receive the novel H1N1 vaccine include health care and emergency medical services staff. Novel vaccine supplies may be limited, at least initially, and healthcare and EMS personnel with direct patient contact would be among the groups to receive the vaccine first. Others would be vaccinated if and when additional supplies of novel vaccine became available.

Plans are under way to again offer flu vaccines at our tent settings. Decisions are being made, as more information becomes available, as to the timing of our flu vaccine campaign kickoff. To assist us with making these decisions, we have posted a survey at You can find the link on the MUHA intranet under Flu Vaccine Survey. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey. Your input will help us make the best decisions.

In summary, health care providers are among the priority groups for vaccination with both seasonal and novel flu vaccines. Both vaccines are needed to protect against all strains of the influenza virus expected to circulate this flu season. We will keep you informed of our progress as we prepare for a successful flu vaccine campaign.


Friday, Aug. 21, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.