WASHINGTON — The National Pork Producers Council wants pork-industry workers be given to be given priority status as candidates for the novel H1N1 flu vaccine.
In writing to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, N.P.P.C. asked that swine workers, swine veterinarians and employees of pork-processing plants be put on the H1N1 vaccine priority list. The organization said it recognized the importance of providing the vaccine to children, the elderly and pregnant women — as well as seasonal Pères Noël. But the council pointed out that, because of their proximity to swine, and the fact that already there has been human-to-swine transmission of the H1N1 virus, pork industry workers also should be provided the vaccine.
N.P.P.C. cited the position of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (A.A.S.V.) on the issue in its letter to C.D.C.: "The A.A.S.V. strongly advises that all personnel working in the pork-production industry be vaccinated against seasonal influenza annually and against any novel human influenza A viruses as they emerge. Vaccination enhances protection for personnel while minimizing the likelihood of viral transmission from personnel to pigs."
N.P.P.C. relays C.D.C. deferred to a panel of vaccine and public-health experts, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, for priority list recommendations. The committee now has passed on its recommendations to state and local public health departments, which will tailor vaccination plans and priorities based on their respective population needs.