Maine CDC: Swine flu has peaked, vaccines ready

Posted Dec. 10, 2009, at 9:49 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The number of doses of swine flu vaccine has doubled recently in Maine — with 150,000 doses arriving over the past week alone — allowing more people in high-risk categories to get their inoculations, officials said Thursday.

The arrival of additional doses coincides with a slight decline in cases of swine flu, which has peaked by most measures in the state, said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the disease remains widespread across the state, she said.

Mills said there were now enough doses for two-thirds of those in high-risk categories and one-third of the rest of the state’s population.

With 455,000 doses in Maine, officials have relaxed some restrictions. Those receiving priority now include all people 6 months through 24 years old; adults ages 25-64 with underlying medical conditions; pregnant women; caregivers of infants under 6 months old; and some health care workers.

Swine flu vaccine will continue to stream into the state through early February by which time everyone who wants the vaccine will be able to get it, Mills said. The state has benefited from doses diverted from other states that passed their peaks before Maine did.

So far, 13 people in Maine have died from complications related to swine flu.

Seasonal flu is expected to arrive soon.

The state has received about 90 percent of its anticipated supply of seasonal flu vaccine.

“Now is an excellent time to get vaccinated if you can,” Mills said, “so you will be protected now and for the months to come.”

An H1N1 flu vaccine clinic that was postponed because of Wednesday’s storm will take place at the Bangor Civic Center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14.

A limited quantity of seasonal flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccine will also be available. For more information about this clinic, call 973-5756.

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