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Officials: No shortage of H1N1 vaccine

October 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Thousands of Southland kids should already have appointments to get the nasal swine flu vaccine. And soon pregnant women, healthcare workers, day care providers and adults with chronic health problems should be the first in line as soon as more of the vaccine becomes available. The first shipment of swine flu vaccine has arrived in L.A. County.

The county's chief health officer says the nasal version of the pandemic H1N1 vaccine is an excellent choice for healthy 2 to 24 year olds. But, expect the injectable version to start showing up by October 15.

"There is not a shortage," said Director of Public Health and Health Officer Dr. Jonathan Fielding. "There will be plenty of vaccine for anyone who wants to get immunized."

Doctor's offices are being inundated for requests for the vaccine. L.A. County expects 200,000 doses next week and 400,000 doses the following week. So if you can't get in for an appointment now, you have a couple of options.

"You can wait a week or two and go back," said Dr. Fielding. "A number of pharmacies will have ordered this as well so that is a second way for those whose usual provider doesn't have it."

The county will also hold free vaccine clinics for those without insurance. A third of the vaccine will be free of the preservative thimerosol. This is intended for pregnant women, the very young and those concerned about the preservative.

Trisha Collins says she has her concerns over the H1N1 vaccine.

"I'm a little bit leery of what damage the shot can do," said Collins.

Dr. Fielding underscored the lack of scientific data linking thimerosol to autism and also addressed those who question the safety and efficacy of the H1N1 vaccine.

"Don't listen to those who say 'I'm just not sure.' This is a serious disease and it deserves to be treated that way," said Dr. Fielding.

Dr. Fielding also emphasized the importance of having a thermometer, Tylenol, ibuprofen and plenty of fluids at home if you happen to get mild to moderate symptoms of the flu.

And in an effort to prevent unnecessary crowding, he says don't go to the emergency unless you have severe symptoms.


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