Shortage Of Tetanus Shots Reported : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Thursday July 26 09:56 PM EDT Shortage Of Tetanus Shots Reported A side effect of last week's flash flooding is starting to hit home. The Tri-State now faces a shortage of tetanus shots.In May, health professionals reported a shortage of tetanus vaccine. During the summer, the demand has risen dramatically.

Flood victims in Fairfax know about debris -- they have been dealing with it for a week. They have also become accustomed to fear and rumor.

Renee Bohlen heard about the need for a tetanus vaccination. Bohlen said: "There's a couple of people who live down here in the medical field, and they were saying, you gotta get it, you gotta get it, and so that's when I went the the Red Cross to find out for certain."

She says that a nurse told her she did not need the shot unless she had cut herself during flood cleanup. In years past, many people with no injury got the shots anyway as a precaution. The new change is due to manufacturers not being able to keep up with demand.

The shortage of vaccine around the country was a problem long before the recent floods. In recent weeks, it has gotten worse. Health care professionals have to save the vaccine for people with injuries.

Anyone with cleanup work to do should take precautions, especially with their arms, legs and feet.

WLWT Eyewitness News 5 reports that this shortage occurred because one of the two manufacturers decided to discontinue production of the vaccine. The other is trying to take the slack, but the manufacturing process takes 11 months, so there are no quick fixes.

To save the vaccine, many local school districts are waiving some tetanus immunization requirements for this school year.

-- Tess (, July 27, 2001


The recommendation has *never* been that it's necessary to get tetanus shots as a routine matter after a flood. On the other hand, if someone suffers a so-called "dirty wound" -- the flood isn't relevant -- there are longstanding guidelines on how to manage tetanus prophylaxis.

This article implies that if more tetanus toxoid ("vaccine") were available this year, it would be appropriate to conduct a mass- vaccination campaign. Not so. The error, often repeated, was in doing so last year. It's not necessary after a flood or other natural disaster to give out mass tetanus shots merely on account of the disaster having happened. And it diverts scarce personnel and resources during the crisis.

-- Andre Weltman, M.D. (, July 27, 2001.

Dr Weltman,

"This article implies that if more tetanus toxoid ("vaccine") were available this year, it would be appropriate to conduct a mass- vaccination campaign. Not so".

Yes, that's what I also noticed about this article. My family have only recieved tetanus vaccine during injury. My son for instance, cut his knee on some concrete and required stictches at which time the ER brought it up and as a precaution he recieved it. But the thought of just getting them because of a flood, natural disaster, without an injury is unnecesary imho.

-- Tess (, July 28, 2001.

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