FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG PARTNERS WITH ILLINOIS GOVERNOR ROD BLAGOJEVICH TO SECURE 200,000 DOSES OF FLU VACCINE FROM EUROPE FOR NEW YORK CITY
Additional Doses Should Provide the City with Enough Vaccine to Vaccinate Our Most Vulnerable Residents; City Joins Effort Led by Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden today announced that New York City is securing an additional 200,000 doses of flu vaccine from Europe for New York City residents. This additional vaccine, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Germany and Aventis Pasteur in France, was ordered from a licensed British wholesaler through a partnership with Illinois. This additional vaccine will allow virtually every high-risk New York City resident who wants a flu shot to be vaccinated.
"We have been working tirelessly to get the flu vaccine that New York City needs to protect our most vulnerable from what can be a deadly illness,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our Health Department has worked hard to get over a million doses of vaccine into the City and now, with some additional entrepreneurship, we will have on hand the additional doses we need to save lives. I’d like to thank Illinois Governor Blagojevich for partnering with New York City and for his leadership in securing vaccine from abroad."
"The FDA told us that they are committed to working with us to evaluate the flu vaccine we’ve secured so people who need it most can get it as soon as possible. If they approve our request, nursing home residents, senior citizens, young children in hospitals, and people with suppressed immune systems, can get the flu shots they need,” said Governor Blagojevich. “And with Mayor Bloomberg on board, we have another powerful force to help make sure that the FDA does the right thing for the people of Illinois, New Mexico, and New York City."
Last week Governor Blagojevich helped the state of New Mexico find 150,000 doses of vaccine to meet its critical need. Altogether, Illinois has located nearly 650,000 doses of flu vaccine from Europe that can be shipped to the U.S. within hours of FDA approval.
The vaccines manufactured in Germany and France are considered investigational new drugs (IND), but have been approved by European regulatory bodies. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the States purchasing the vaccine are working closely with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to secure approval for use in the United States. Given the track record of these products, the manufacturers, and their approval by the European regulatory authorities, it is expected that FDA approval will be granted expeditiously.
"Flu vaccines save lives. Working in partnership with Illinois, the FDA, and the CDC, the City will have the 1.4 million doses we need,” said Commissioner Frieden. “The Health Department is working to quickly distribute the vaccine we already have on hand to nursing homes, doctors’ offices, HIV/AIDS care providers, and to community health centers. To prevent shortages in the future, we will also continue to advocate for long-term changes of federal processes for flu vaccine manufacturing, purchasing and distribution, as well as increased funding and coverage for flu shots."
The Flu Situation in New York City
It is still early in the flu season. There have been two nursing home outbreaks so far this season. Unfortunately, in one of the outbreaks, four people died. This illustrates the vulnerability to serious complications from flu among those in nursing homes and those who are over age 65, and underscores why they are the top priority to be vaccinated. Everyone over the age of 65 should be vaccinated against flu every year, and now, everyone over 65 in New York City who wants to be vaccinated, can be.
The City is making efforts to vaccinate high-risk New Yorkers by:
The Vaccine Situation in New York City
Guidelines on Who Should Be vaccinated this Flu Season
DOHMH, along with the CDC and State Health Department, has issued guidelines to the medical community and to the public advising them of which groups must be prioritized this flu season. There are several other steps that should be taken to protect against the spread of the illness. People can help stop the spread of flu by covering your nose and when you cough or sneeze, and staying home from school or work if you're sick with fever and cough. For more information about how to prevent the spread of flu, visit www.nyc.gov/health/flu.
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
Sandra Mullin (Department of Health and Mental Hygiene)
Abby Ottenhoff (Governor Blagojevich) (312) 814-3158
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