Editor's note: The following is a letter to all Johns
Hopkins affiliates regarding the current status of flu
vaccine for the institutions.
On Oct. 5, the Chiron Corporation announced that none
of its influenza vaccine, Fluvirin, would be available for
distribution in the United States for the 2004-2005
influenza season. This will reduce by approximately
one-half the expected supply of injectable influenza
vaccine available this year in the United States.
Hopkins receives the majority of its vaccine supply
(about 25,000 doses) from this vaccine manufacturer. This
shortage will significantly affect the availability of
vaccine for our institution. While we are attempting to
obtain adequate supplies of flu vaccines from other
sources, we must take immediate measures to ensure that the
vaccine we now have is used in the most judicious manner to
protect patients and health care workers.
We will prioritize vaccinating health care workers
with daily direct patient contact or those employees at
risk for exposure to influenza in the clinical laboratory.
Vaccination will begin at the end of October. We will offer
vaccine to additional health care workers as it becomes
available. The following Johns Hopkins Hospital and
university employees with direct patient contact or
exposure to influenza will be vaccinated in the first
Housestaff, clinical fellows,
nurse practitioners and physician assistants with daily
patient contact, with first priority to the Emergency
Department, followed by the departments of Medicine,
Pediatrics, Oncology, Bone Marrow and Solid Organ
Transplant Services and OB/GYN.
Clinical nursing staff working in
the Emergency Department; followed next by Inpatient
Medicine, Pediatrics, Oncology, Bone Marrow and Solid Organ
Transplant and OB/GYN floors; and then Oncology, Moore and
Internal Medicine clinics.
Attending physicians with daily
patient contact in the Emergency Department; followed by
Inpatient Medicine, Pediatrics, Oncology, Bone Marrow and
Solid Organ Transplant and OB/GYN floors; and then
Oncology, Moore and Internal Medicine clinics.
Personnel in the Virology
Personnel in Respiratory Therapy,
Phlebotomy, Physical Therapy, Radiology, Echocardiography
and Transport who travel regularly to inpatient floors.
We strongly encourage all employees, including those
in the groups listed above, to obtain vaccine from their
health care providers or other sources prior to the end of
October if they are able. We particularly recommend that
employees who are in high-risk groups — those with
chronic heart or lung conditions, including asthma;
diabetes; chronic kidney disease; weakened immune system
(such as from HIV or AIDS) — contact their health
care providers for vaccine.
As more vaccine becomes available, we will expand the
vaccination campaign to include additional health care
workers with clinical and patient care responsibilities.
Currently we cannot offer vaccine to employees working
outside the health care setting.
Be assured that we are doing all in our power to
obtain adequate supplies of flu vaccine so that we can
resume our regular practice of inoculating all employees
who request vaccinations. We are working on plans that
include alternatives to the vaccine and will help reduce
exposure to influenza. We are also working closely with
federal, state and local authorities. In the meantime, we
ask for your patience and understanding during this vaccine
shortage. This is a changing situation, and you will be