H1N1 vaccine arrives

    Swine flu vaccine is coming to a doctor’s office or health clinic near you.

    States have begun to receive the first shipments of vaccine for H1N1 swine flu. But that doesn’t mean they’re readily available.
    (Photo:http://www.flickr.com/photos/alvi2047/ / CC BY 2.0)

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    [audio:091007kgh1n1.mp3]

    Hospitals in Delaware have it. Doctors in New Jersey have it. And so do public health departments in Pennsylvania.

    The nasal spray version of the vaccine is slowly coming on the market. Susan Walsh is the deputy commissioner of New Jersey’s health department.

    Walsh:
    We’re asking everybody to be a little patient, because there’s not much vaccine out there now. We don’t want people overwhelming their local health departments or their private physicians or the emergency room looking for information.

    Doctors who received shipments will follow federal guidelines for determining which people should get the vaccine first. The limited supply will go to high priority groups, such as children or healthcare workers.

    Steve Alles is with Philadelphia’s public health department. He’s organizing a program to vaccinate children in schools.

    Alles: Vaccine is starting to come available soon. And in a couple of weeks we expect to get a lot of doses in the city as will many cities and states around the country. So at that time later this month is when we’re hoping to roll out this program to make it available in the schools.

    Nanticoke Hospital in Delaware is giving it to health care providers. Sharon Hamblin is the hospital’s emergency manager. She says there hasn’t been a rush on the vaccines.

    Hamblin: With the nasal there is a lot of criteria for receiving it. For example you have to be less than 50. You can’t have a history of asthma, diabetes, certain health conditions. So that makes a certain percentage of people unavailable to get the vaccine.

    Hamblin says many of the healthcare workers are opting to wait until the swine flu shot is available. The shot carries inactivated flu; the spray has live, but weakened, virus.

    Walsh says she expects plenty of the vaccine, including the shot, to be available in November. The seasonal flu shot is readily accessible now.

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