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CDC posts H1N1 vaccine questions, answers on Web site


ATLANTA The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday posted a H1N1 vaccine distribution common questions and answers under its H1N1 information tab. According to the agency, the 2009 H1N1 vaccine will be distributed by CDC’s contractor for centralized distribution, McKesson Specialty.

The 2009 H1N1 vaccine distribution will be a health department managed process similar to the process for the Vaccines for Children Program.

The distribution process for 2009 H1N1 vaccine builds on the existing mechanism for shipping vaccine to VFC providers. Vaccine orders will be submitted by Project Area health departments on behalf of vaccine providers. These orders will be transmitted to CDC and will be processed and forwarded to McKesson. McKesson, in turn will ship vaccine directly to the end user. The centralized distribution contract for the VFC program has been supplemented to provide for 2009 H1N1 vaccine distribution and distribution of ancillary supply kits.

Following is the list of questions and answers, as initially published at on Aug. 31:

  • 1. How will vaccine be allocated among project areas (the CDC Public Health Emergency Preparedness grantees)?It is anticipated that vaccine will be allocated to each project area in proportion to its population (pro rata).
  • 2. How will vaccine be shipped to project areas?Vaccine will be shipped by CDC’s contractor for centralized distribution, McKesson Specialty, to hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, health departments, and other providers of vaccines that have been designated as vaccine-receiving sites by the Project Area (the project areas include all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 8 US Territories and freely associated states, and 3 large metropolitan health departments).
  • 3. What kind of providers can be designated as vaccine recipients?Providers that have the capability to receive, store and administer vaccine, including but not limited to provider offices, occupational health clinics, hospitals, local health departments, community vaccinators and pharmacies.
  • 4. How many sites can a jurisdiction designate to receive vaccine?There will be a maximum of approximately 90,000 sites to which vaccine can be shipped via centralized distribution. CDC is developing a formula to determine the maximum number of sites within each project area and it will be shared as soon as possible.
  • 5. How will information about vaccine-receiving sites be transmitted to McKesson?Programs will transmit orders to CDC as they do with VACMAN currently and these orders will be sent to McKesson the morning after they arrive at CDC.  CDC is working with McKesson to determine how the vaccine and ancillary supply components of the orders will be handled and the shipment timeline, relative to vaccine orders.
  • 6. Will VACMAN be able to handle the increased volume required for 2009 H1N1 vaccine distribution? CDC is working to ensure that the anticipated large volume of 2009 H1N1 vaccine orders flowing through CDC systems (VACMAN, NIPVAC, EDI, SDN, etc.) are ready to support your 2009 H1N1 vaccine order volumes.
  • 7.  How will the transition to Vaccine Tracking System (VTrckS) impact the 2009 H1N1influenza program? CDC is assessing the impact of the 2009 H1N1 response on Vaccine Management Business Improvement Project (VMBIP) activities including the VTrckS deployment dates based on recent survey results and feedback from grantees. Upon completion of the assessment (by 9/8/09), CDC will make adjustments and contingency plans related to VTrckS deployment dates as necessary and will keep you informed of these changes. However, the top priority during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic will be to maintain the flow of data and vaccines.
  • 8. How long will it take for vaccine to arrive once I place my order?The shipping timelines for 2009 H1N1 vaccine are currently being established between CDC and McKesson.  Information will be provided to state planners as soon as it is available.
  • 9. What should project areas expect with respect to frequency of vaccine shipments?Vaccine will be shipped as it becomes available, taking into account state allocations and orders. The process will be modeled after that utilized by immunization programs to order seasonal influenza vaccine off the federal contract, except for the shipment timeline, which is not yet finalized.  Details about CDC’s ordering/allocation process for seasonal influenza are described in the all-grantee message sent to immunization program grantees on 8/11/2009 (Grantee message for allocation).
  • 10. What ancillary supplies will be provided by the federal government?Syringes and needles, alcohol swabs and sharps containers.
  • 11. How will orders of ancillary supplies be transmitted?Ancillary supply kits and sharps containers will be included in VACMAN as products, similar to individual vaccines.  States will place orders for these products and will transmit these orders just as vaccine orders are transmitted.   
  • 12. Can vaccine be sent to one address and ancillary supply kits to another address?Because of logistical considerations, vaccine and ancillary supply kit orders cannot be shipped to different addresses.
  • 13. What is the minimum dose order for shipments of 2009 H1N1 vaccine?For each vaccine formulation (identified by its National Drug Code) the minimum dose order is 100 doses and all orders must be placed in increments of 100 doses. Each ancillary supply kit will contain supplies to support 100 doses of vaccine, with different kits available for prefilled syringe products and for multi-dose vial products. 
  • 14. What is the size of storage volume for each product type?CDC will communicate the corresponding storage volume of 100 dose increments of each product type as soon as that information becomes available. 
  • 15. Will Project Areas be able to determine where specific presentations of vaccine (multi-dose vials, single dose syringes, and nasal sprayers) are directed?Project Areas will select the specific presentation of vaccine when ordering for providers in the VACMAN system. 
  • 16. Can Project Areas request less than their full allocation?Yes, Project Areas will not be required to accept vaccine they cannot store or administer.
  • 17. If a Project Area requests less than their full allocation, will they have given up rights to the balance of their allocation?Project Areas will not forfeit the remainder of their allotment if not all is ordered at one time. 
  • 18. Can Project Areas share or exchange allocations of specific products with other Project Areas? As with seasonal influenza vaccine, CDC will facilitate such exchanges.

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