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Most adults asked to wait on H1N1 vaccine

Posted September 24, 2009

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— The World Health Organization said Thursday that vaccine manufacturers will be able to produce about 3 billion doses to combat the H1N1 flu virus, down from the 5 billion doses previously expected.

North Carolina expects to get its initial shipment of between 500,000 and 1 million vaccine doses next month, and health care providers are asking most adults to wait a few weeks before getting immunized. Providers said people in high-risk groups should be first in line to receive the vaccine.

H1N1 vaccine, swine flu vaccine Certain groups get H1N1 vaccine priority

The WHO said clinical trials show a single dose should be enough to provide healthy adults with protection against H1N1. Previously, some officials thought two shots might be needed to immunize people from the virus.

The priority groups for vaccination include pregnant women, children ages 6 months to 24 years, people who live with or care for a child younger than 6 months old, health care workers, emergency services personnel and people ages 25 to 64 with weakened immune systems.

"This is not a rationed vaccine," said Dr. Megan Davies, state epidemiologist.

Still, Davies said, health officials will try to talk people not in one of the priority groups out of getting vaccinated in the next few weeks.

"People who are in these targeted groups are the people who are more likely to get complicated illnesses when they get the flu, and that's why we are reaching out to them first," she said. "I think most people, when they understand that, want to do the right thing."

Public health officials said the biggest challenge they face is figuring out how to make sure those in the high-risk categories can get vaccinated.

"It's consuming pretty much of our time right now, just in the planning," said Gayle Harris, Durham County health director.

Durham County plans to establish some mass vaccinations sites, possibly at local schools, Harris said. People should check with  their physician first to see if they are offering the vaccine before they call the health department, she said.

"Initially, we know we'll get a very small shipment," she said.

Not everybody in the high-risk categories wants the H1N1 vaccine.

Dawn Simmons, for example, said she hasn't decided if she'll get the her twin girls vaccinated.

"Anything new, I'm just a little hesitant to put something like that in my child until (I) know more about it," Simmons said.

Davies said the vaccine is safe, and although the spread of swine flu hasn't been as bad as expected so far, she said getting immunized is worth the effort.

"The fortunate thing is this is more of a Category 1 hurricane than a Category 5 hurricane in terms of severity," she said.

11 Comments

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  • DontAnnoyMe Sep 25, 2009

    "The death rate appears to be around 0.5%"

    More nonsense. It's more likely less than .045 percent. See http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE58E6NZ20090916.

  • DontAnnoyMe Sep 25, 2009

    "The government does. Having the government take on the risk was the only way to get the pharmaceutical companies to actually make vaccines. The vaccine could save millions of lives, but they would be stupid to make it if they get sued into oblivion by a handful of unavoidable complications."

    Leonardo, you need to get untangled from the superhype, do a bit of research, and learn that:

    1. Today, unlike back in '76, NOBODY has liability in a pandemic instance. If you get sick from a shot or an antiviral treatment, you have no legal recourse.

    2. Flu shots are nowhere near as effective in preventing flu as is reported by the pharmaceutically-funded CDC and media. See http://drtenpenny.com/the_truth_about_the_flu_Shot.aspx.

  • cskipper3 Sep 25, 2009

    Wait! I'm getting confused. Didn't the government and the media say we were supposed to die of West Nile first? Or was it SARS? Oh wait, it was Bird Flu! OMG I'm soooo skeered! Where's my Lysol and gas mask? *cough cough*

    Pleeeeese....

  • HanginTough Sep 25, 2009

    I'll pass - just the name World Health Organization gives me the heebie jeebies.

  • juppinjack Sep 25, 2009

    Children to 24 years ?????

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Sep 25, 2009

    Leonardo, I hear you, but don't want to risk unnecessary complications with my unborn child. As stated before I have been through 2 other pregnancies during flu season and have been fine.

  • Leonardo Sep 25, 2009

    Tired of thoughtlessness - All vaccines carry some risk. However, they're typically extremely small. And the risk of the disease vastly outweighs the risk of the vaccine. Not taking the vaccine because of the risks is like not wearing your car seat belt because in very rare cases, wearing a seat belt actually hurts in an accident.

    This particular flu appears to be very virulent. They're expecting 1/3 of Americans to catch it. The death rate appears to be around 0.5%. The risks of complications from the vaccine are much less than this.

  • Leonardo Sep 25, 2009

    "Who has liability if this swine flu vaccine injures people like the one in the 1970s did?"

    The government does. Having the government take on the risk was the only way to get the pharmaceutical companies to actually make vaccines. The vaccine could save millions of lives, but they would be stupid to make it if they get sued into oblivion by a handful of unavoidable complications.

  • time4real Sep 25, 2009

    i'm not bothering with it. the Govt. can't get it's info out to us correctly and I'm sick of hearing about it. Now you need another shot in Feb 2010, if you take one now, still have to have an add'l. shot for the reg. flu and kids need even more. Squat on all of it, I'll just get sick and pass it on to the public and blame Obama like everyone else does!

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Sep 25, 2009

    Tarheels- Agreed!!
    I am one of the people that would be "first" (pregnant), but will not be getting it. We still have the risks of the preservatives (mercury) used in other vaccines (even though the ysay its a minute amount), plus the other additives in this particular vaccine. I would rather not subject my child to the unknowns. I have never had a flu shot and have been through 2 other pregnancies during flu season and pray this season is not the one where I catch it. I just think the risks and the unknowns are too high at this point.

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