Association soothes fears about report of no flu vaccine

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About one-fourth of Ohio nursing homes have received doses of flu vaccine and more appear to be on the way, according to a state nursing home association official. The Associated Press reported Monday that none of Ohio's nursing homes had received flu vaccine.

"While our members are experiencing the same problems as the rest of the country, we don't see any reason to panic," said Stephen Mould, Director of Public Affairs, Ohio Health Care Association.

Mould cited a survey of the association's 800 members a few weeks ago that revealed as many as 25% of the 125 responding nursing homes had received some flu vaccine to provide to residents. Because of the cooperative environment between providers, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and provider groups, Mould said the state's long-term care providers are confident they will receive needed supplies of flu vaccine currently in the pipeline.

Long-term care residents and workers are in a high-priority class for receiving the vaccine, according to government officials. Influenza is the fifth-leading cause of death among those aged 65 and older, and 91% of last year's flu deaths were among the elderly.

The vaccine shortage began in early October, when 46 million doses of flu vaccine headed for the United States were ruled contaminated.