Oct 21, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius promised a Senate committee today that the flow of pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine doses will greatly improve in November, following its slow start this month.Speaking to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Sebelius blamed production problems for the meager early supplies of vaccine and promised that eventually there will be enough for all Americans who want to be vaccinated.HHS officials had predicted that 45 million doses would be ready for distribution in mid October, followed by about 20 million more each week after that. But as of yesterday, only 12.8 million doses had become available for ordering, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.Low yields, start-up problemsSebelius blamed two problems for the low early production numbers: low yields from the eggs used to grow the vaccine virus—which were reported when pharmaceutical companies started production in the summer—and difficulties in starting up new production lines.”We have some new production lines that have been put in place by the manufacturers; there were glitches in some of these production lines,” she told the committee.”Those two issues have been corrected, so we anticipate that number [of doses] growing exponentially as we move into the season,” she added. “By early November we’re confident that vaccine will be far more widely available. There’ll be enough vaccine so every American who wants to can be vaccinated.”The government has ordered a total of about 250 million doses of H1N1 vaccine from five manufacturers. The expectation is that vaccine deliveries will be completed in December. But the slow start to the vaccine deliveries has complicated planning by state and local health departments and other groups involved in vaccination efforts.Echoing what a CDC official said yesterday, Sebelius also promised today that the availability of seasonal flu vaccine will improve in coming weeks. Public health agencies had encouraged the public to get their seasonal flu immunizations early, before the rollout of the H1N1 vaccine. But supplies of the seasonal vaccine have run short in some areas.”We’ve been assured that production is ramping up,” Sebelius told the committee. “Manufacturers are backfilling that, and it’ll be much more widely available.”IV antiviral authorization expectedIn other comments, Sebelius said HHS will soon issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) for an antiviral drug that can be given intravenously to help critically ill H1N1 patients. The two mainstay antivirals, oseltamivir and zanamivir, are not available in IV formulations.In her written testimony, Sibelius said, “Physicians treating critically ill patients with H1N1 influenza will soon have access to new antviral drugs supported by HHS/BARDA [the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency] and administered intravenously under a CDC sponsored emergency use authorization.”Under questioning by Sen. Joe Lieberman, committee chairman, she said issuance of an EUA is “imminent” but didn’t give a date.Last week a Food and Drug Administration official said a decision was expected soon on an EUA for IV peramivir, an antiviral that’s in the same class as oseltamivir and zanamivir but is not yet licensed.School closures continuingAlso at today’s hearing, Education Secretary Arne Duncan reported that the H1N1 virus has prompted many school closures so far this fall but that the numbers have been below what they were in the spring wave of the pandemic.So far this fall, 628 schools have closed for at least a day, affecting 219,000 students, Duncan told the committee. As of yesterday, 88 schools were closed, affecting 28,000 students and 1,800 teachers, he said.By comparison, in the spring, from Apr 27 through Jun 12, more than 1,350 schools in 35 states closed, affecting 824,966 students and 53,217 teachers, Duncan reported. The peak day was May 5, with 980 schools closed.At the beginning of the H1N1 outbreaks, the CDC recommended that schools close if they had any confirmed or suspected H1N1 cases. But soon afterward, when it became evident that the virus wasn’t as virulent as first feared, the agency advised that schools should focus on identifying and isolating sick students and should close only if they had large numbers of cases. Duncan said schools have been heeding the CDC guidance.He noted that the Education Department, with the CDC and state and local agencies, developed a new school dismissal monitoring system over the summer. The system used earlier didn’t work well, he said.See also: Senate committee hearing page, with links to testimony:http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_id=cbe5331e-19ab-41d5-bffe-7610f97708f0Oct 16 CIDRAP News story “US H1N1 vaccine delayed as cases and deaths rise”http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/swineflu/news/oct1609vaccine.html
Press Association Striker Shola Ameobi is to leave Newcastle after 14 years at St James’ Park. “I have been at Newcastle United all my career and I have enjoyed every moment and always worn the famous shirt with pride. I am now looking forward to starting a new chapter in my career. “I would like to place on record a big thank you to everyone at Newcastle United. I wish the club great success in the future and I’m sure with the team and management they have, Newcastle United will go from strength to strength. “Finally, a big thank you to the supporters who have always been fantastic. “I hope to come back to Newcastle United one day in some capacity to help repay some of the faith and loyalty that everybody connected to the club has shown me during my time here.” Ameobi, whose younger brother Sammy remains on the books, made 397 senior appearances, 178 of them as a substitute, and scored 79 goals. He was not always a favourite with the club’s fans, but was appreciated by successive managers, none more so than current incumbent Alan Pardew. Pardew said: “Such loyalty and commitment in the modern game is rare and Shola was not just a great player on the pitch, but a key figure off it too. “He is a leader of men, a great role model for our younger players and I wish him well for the remainder of his career.” Ameobi is one nine men leaving the club along with loan pair Loic Remy and Luuk de Jong, midfielders Dan Gosling and Conor Newton, who have joined Bournemouth and Rotherham respectively, and youngsters Michael Richardson, Steven Logan, Brandon Miele and Jonathan Mitchell. The 32-year-old is out of contract and after discussions with the club, is to move on, although he has signalled his intention to return one day. Nigeria international Ameobi, who was handed a senior debut by former manager Sir Bobby Robson as a teenager, said: “Following discussions with Newcastle United, both parties felt it was the right time for us to part company.
England Golf acknowledges The R&A’s statement (18 May) detailing the COVID-19 Support Fund and very much appreciates the opportunity to offer financial assistance to golf clubs experiencing difficulties during the coronavirus crisis.Golf clubs in England have been allocated a proportionate share of a £4 million funding package to be administered by the governing bodies of the four home nations.We are working expediently towards finalising qualifying criteria for funding applications and will look to confirm details within the next few weeks.Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, England Golf has worked closely with The R&A on a number of matters relating to golf’s recovery including putting in place the conditions for the game’s return on 13 May after a seven week absence.This latest collaboration will see vital funds put forward by The R&A and then allocated and distributed via England Golf to clubs building for a stronger future.England Golf chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson said: “Golf clubs are the heartbeat of many communities across England.“In challenging circumstances, we have worked closely with The R&A and share their deep desire to support our clubs in recovery.“This support fund is good news for clubs who have shown terrific resilience through these unprecedented times.” 22 May 2020 England Golf welcomes The R&A’s ‘COVID-19 Support Fund’ Tags: The R&A