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Demand for H1N1 vaccine exceeds supply

October 28, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Demand for the H1N1 vaccine still exceeds the supply.Thousands of people have been standing in line because their doctors don't have the H1N1 vaccine.

Now county officials are opening up clinics to people who do have health insurance, but they want to make sure that the ones getting the shots are people in the high risk categories.

A quick survey of people standing in line revealed most people are in the priority groups and they're upset when they see others bending the rules.

"I feel like they should do a screening as people are getting here, so if they're not qualified for it than they can go home," said Sonia Berrios, an expectant mother.

Sonia Berrios is pregnant and waited in line nearly three hours. Cancer patient Ellen Christiansen says it's just not fair for her to wait when others shouldn't be here.

"I think that there are a lot of people who are healthy that are in line and that are insured," said Christiansen. "If they could wait, a week or two for this, I think we would be fine."

Priority groups include: pregnant women, health care workers, emergency personnel, people who live with or care for infants under 6 months, children over 6 months, young adults and people 25 to 64 with underlying health problems.

Teacher Hawk Yao doesn't fall into any of these groups, but he says he has a valid reason.

"I'm teaching so I think it's really important that I get vaccinated, so that the kids don't spread it to me and I spread it to other kids who I'm teaching," said Yao.

L.A. County health officials say they're counting on the public to be truthful. And if non-priority people continue to come to clinics, the county says it will run out of shots by November 4, which is four days earlier than planned.

"I know people are frustrated because it's taken so long for the vaccine to come," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding from the L.A. County Department of Health. "We are happy that we were able to accommodate virtually everybody and we hope more vaccine will be coming soon."

Many people like Jan Phetteplace are in line with family members in the priority groups but they're hoping they'll get lucky.

"I'll just ask and if they don't have enough I'll just wait for it like everybody else," said Phetteplace.

Health officials say every week more and more shipments are coming in so check with your doctors.


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