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L.A. faces swine flu vaccine shortages

October 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Even federal health officials concede that the supply of the swine flu vaccine is no match for the demand."Right now we are at a point where the demand is ahead of the yield," said Kathleen Sebelius, of the Department of Health and Human Services.

"There are now very unsettling reports of growing vaccine shortages," said Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

Early forecasts predicted there would be 40 million doses available by late October. So far, there are just 13 million.

L.A. County has just received 200,000 doses that the Department of Health will begin distributing this week.

"There are over 3,000 providers that have ordered the vaccine, and many of them haven't received it yet, and I know it's frustrating for them and their patients, but be patient and they should be getting it in the very near future," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding of the L.A. County Department of Health.

Fielding also said that those who are considered high-risk will get the vaccine first.

"Anybody who takes care of a child under six months of age, children and young adults six months to age 24, those 25 to 64 that have underlying problems that puts them at higher risk," described Fielding.

Pregnant women and health care workers are also high priority.

Across the country, some have waited for hours to get the H1N1 vaccine and many have left disappointed and worried that they were not able to receive the protective vaccine of such a dangerous virus.

Fielding advises that during this flu season, people should practice proper respiratory hygiene by washing their hands, covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing and not touching their eyes or their mouths.

He also advised that if you're sick, you should stay home.


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