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Doctors want H1N1 vaccine for patients

November 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Doctors are having a lot of trouble getting the H1N1 vaccine for their pregnant patients.When Una Battaglia learned she was having a baby boy she was ecstatic. But the rest of her 17-week pregnancy was wrought with concern over the H1N1 flu and her inability to get the vaccine.

"I know pregnant women are at increased risk for complications and I just don't want to take any chances," said Battaglia. "I have three little kids at home and another one on the way."

Last week Battaglia became one of thousands of local pregnant women who stood in line at county vaccine clinics.

"My pregnant patients were telling me stories of driving long distances and waiting hours to get their vaccine," said Dr. Bryan Jick from Fair Oaks Women's Health.

Pregnant women are one of the most vulnerable to the H1N1 strain.

"Up until today I had not met or known any private OBGYN doctor who got the vaccine," said Dr. Jick.

Dr. Jick says he was outraged to find out prisoners at Guantanamo Bay received the vaccine, but not a lot of pregnant women.

So Dr. Jick wrote letters to the American College of OBGYN, to the L.A. County Medical Association and others overseeing vaccine distribution. Just an hour before this interview, he received his full order.

"It's all kind of crazy and it's kind of random," said Dr. Jick. "Every time you go to the Web site they talk about how it's coming, but there's really no way to get hard information."

Dr. Jick will start vaccinating his patients Tuesday. He says when it comes to getting the H1N1 vaccine, it appears the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

"It would be nice if patients made a little bit of noise and let their needs be heard," said Dr. Jick.


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