Local health officials began drawing plans for a limited influenza veccination program following the decision Tuesday by Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Joseph A. Califano to lift the ban on the combined A/Victoria and swine flu vaccine.
In some jurisdictions plans were still sketchy yesterday, as health officials waited for arrical of a new consent form to be signed by patients warning them of the possibility that the vaccine could cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare type of paralysis.
Health officials in Maryland and Virginia relaxed theri states' ban on giving the combined or bivalent vaccine after Califano's decision. Dr. Robert E. Jackson, assistant Virginiahealth commissioner, said the bivalent caccine will be made available to both local health departments and private physicians. "We will not resume the mass immunization program," Jackson said, indicating that the renewed program was intended for the elderly and chronically ill.
In Maryland, the stable health secretary, Dr. Neil Solomon, announced that the state's moratorium on flu vaccines would be lifted to the extent of allowing the elderly and chronically ill to receive the bivalent vaccine. As in Virginia, Solomon said that the ban on swine flu shots for the general population remains in effect.
District health officials, following an afternoon meeting yesterday, decide to resume a program for giving vaccinations to persons 18 or older who want the vaccine and to persons six months to 18 years who are chronically ill. A spokeswoman for the District's Human Resources Department said at two locations, not yet selected. She said dates and times will probably be known by next Monday and advised persons wanting the shots then to call 234-5678 between 8:15 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. for information.
In Montgomery County, tentative plans have been made to give the shots to persons 55 or older or to chronically ill persons on two dates - Feb. 27 and March 6, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. - at 611 Rockville Pike.
Dr. Lewis Holder, deputy Montgomery County health officer, said that the county is encouraging people to see their own private physicians first for the shots. If a persons has not private physician or if the physician does not have the vaccine, Holder said, those who meet the county's criteria can get the shots from the county's public clinic.
Holder said that the county will also supply vacinne free to private physicians.
In Arlington, Dr. Raymond Schwartz, chief of health services, said the county is waiting for a directive form Richmond as well as the new, revised consent forms before making final plans to resume vaccinations.
Schwartz said the location of clinics and their hours of operation will be determined in part by the apparent demand for the vaccine. So far, he said, his office had received few calls about the vaccine.
Prince Geroge's County is waiting arrival of the new consent forms before resuming its program, probably some time next week, according to Dr. Susan Mather, chief of epidemiology and adult health services for the County Health Department.
Dr. Mather said the vaccine would be available to anyone over 55 or to chronically ill persons by appointment ar either the health department offices in Cheverly or at the Senior Health Center in Cottage City. She said the county will also make the vaccine available to private physicians, nursing homes and outpatient clinics.
Persons needing more information in Prince George's may call 773-1400. In Montgomery County, call 279-1075.