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CDC reports delays in H1N1 vaccine

October 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Centers for Disease Control announced that supplies for the swine flu vaccine are going be delayed and the vaccines will be even more scarce than predicted. "This certainly is not welcomed news," said the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Dr. Jonathan Fielding. "We already had to reschedule are clinics once. We were hoping to start this weekend."

Dr. Fielding says delays of the H1N1 vaccine puts next week's planned flu shot clinics in jeopardy.

"If we are not getting it that means other providers are not getting it," said Dr. Fielding. "We are allocating it to other providers who have requested it around the county."

This means local doctors and clinics may not be getting their shipments for another two weeks.

This news is released at the same time that the CDC reports the swine flu is causing an unprecedented amount of illness this early in the fall. Eleven more children died this week.

In L.A. County the average age of hospitalization is under 4 years old. Many are completely healthy before getting the H1N1 virus.

"It is a terrible concern whenever a child is severely inflicted by a disease that we know can be preventable," said Dr. Fielding.

Public health officials want to see everyone get the H1N1 flu shot. But do to production delays it is more important that priority groups get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"We are starting with pregnant woman and children 6 months to 18 years of age that have underlying medical conditions," said Keith Reed from the Oklahoma Health Department.

In the meantime, prevention remains the best strategy.

"Remember the hygiene message," said Dr. Fielding. "Remember the staying home message. That will reduce the transmission."

Overall, what the CDC calls the 2009 H1N1 flu is causing widespread disease in 41 states, and about 6 percent of all doctor visits are for flu-like illness. Those levels are not normally seen until much later in the fall.


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