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Health care providers and other qualified organizations can now apply for approval to receive H1N1 flu vaccine shipments and serve as vaccination sites this fall, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard announced today.
Private physicians, local health departments, community health centers, pharmacies, hospitals and other organizations can register online at the Department of Health and Senior Services website at www.nj.gov/health/flu/providerinfo.shtml
Nationally, vaccine will be distributed to more than 90,000 approved shipment sites—including more than 2,000 in New Jersey. The vaccine “ship-to” sites will be overseen regionally through the state’s network of 22 public health agencies known as the Local Information Network and Communications System (LINCS).
“Now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved H1N1 vaccine, New Jersey is ready to make the vaccine available when it arrives in October,” said Gov. Jon S. Corzine. “Commissioner Howard and I encourage everyone to get their seasonal flu shot as well as the H1N1 Influenza vaccine.”
The Governor recently announced a sweeping agreement with health insurers to cover H1N1 vaccinations as well as free H1N1 vaccinations for uninsured New Jerseyans at public health clinics in every county throughout the State.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said they expect vaccine to be available early next month. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that the vaccine first be given to several groups at highest risk of more severe illness.
“Working with our public health, health care and business partners – including hospitals, community health centers, local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies and private physicians – will ensure that vaccine is available statewide for the target populations identified by national health officials,” Commissioner Howard added.
Using a population-based formula, the CDC has determined that New Jersey will have 2,353 of the nation’s 90,000 approved vaccine shipment sites. Vaccine will be shipped directly to those sites by the CDC’s vaccine distribution contractor, McKesson Corp., which is based in San Francisco.
Businesses, health care and public health agencies will have to register on-line through a Department of Health and Senior Services enrollment system. Businesses would have to have licensed medical professionals available on-site. Nearly all of these agencies will also administer the vaccine. They will also be able to distribute it to other sites interested in participating. For example, a community health center could distribute vaccine for use in all its satellite clinic locations.
Providers who want to serve as vaccinators but not as ship-to sites may work with their LINCS agencies to obtain vaccine.
Enrollments will be reviewed and approved by the local LINCS agency. DHSS recommends priority be given to providers such as obstetricians, pediatricians and family practice physicians, who primarily serve patients in target groups outlined in current ACIP recommendations, including pregnant women and children.
To be eligible, private physicians and pharmacies must be licensed by their respective licensing boards. They must agree to follow all guidelines on the proper use and management of the H1N1 vaccine. They will enter into the New Jersey Immunization Information System their request for the amount of vaccine they want delivered, and they also will have to report on doses administered. And they must sign an agreement saying they will give the vaccine according to the recommendations of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Hospitals, community health centers, and local health departments will be approved ship-to sites, although they still must enroll through the New Jersey Immunization Information System.
According to the ACIP, the target groups for H1N1 vaccination are:
· pregnant women,
· people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age,
· healthcare and emergency medical services personnel,
· persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and
· people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
For more information or to apply, visit www.nj.gov/health/flu/providerinfo.shtml
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Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360