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Fayetteville clinic feels shortage of H1N1 shots

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday the H1N1 vaccine "is coming out the door as fast as it comes off the production line."

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Employees at the Fayetteville Children's Clinic, 1606 Morganton Road, said they get 40 to 50 calls a day about H1N1, including questions from parents about the vaccine.

“Our supply is very limited, so we’ve been giving it on a first come, first serve basis,” nurse Lauren Jenkins said Monday.

Jenkins said children with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, take priority.

The clinic still has doses left from its first shipment. It is unclear when it may receive another shipment.

Ransdall McCauley, 8, received the H1N1 vaccine on Monday. His mother, Carla McCauley, said his doctor at the clinic suggested he get the vaccine as part of his check-up.

“I’m hoping that if he does contract it, it won’t be as severe,” Carla McCauley said.

The state has distributed the H1N1 vaccine to 86 public health departments, said Dr. Zack Moore, a respiratory disease epidemiologist for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

In addition, nearly 2,500 other health care providers have received shipments. The minimum shipment required by law is 100 doses.

The vaccine comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s distribution partner, McKesson Corporation. The state is supposed to get weekly shipments, but the days and the doses vary.

The Cumberland County Health Department is supposed to receive about 200 doses by the end of the week, according to county health director Buck Wilson. He expects to get more doses next week.

Sebelius: H1N1 vaccine will be available

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday the H1N1 vaccine "is coming out the door as fast as it comes off the production line."

But at the same time, she acknowledged delays in getting a sufficient supply for all those demanding it.

"We were relying on the manufacturers to give us their numbers and as soon as we got numbers we put them out to the public. It does appear now that those numbers were overly rosy," Sebelius said in one interview. "We do have a vaccine that works," she said. Sebelius said the immune response is working faster than officials anticipated.

Appearing Monday morning on nationally broadcast news shows, she said officials now have a supply of about 16.5 million doses of the vaccine, while conceding that's millions of doses below the amount needed.

Sebelius said she couldn't predict just how widespread the virus will be. Roughly a thousand people have died from it so far in the United States. But she also said officials do not believe there is yet any cause to close down schools and cease other daily activities.

President Barack Obama declared a health emergency over the weekend to give hospitals and health professionals more leeway from federal regulations to respond to the illness.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, who heads the Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said it's hard to predict how long the H1N1 wave will continue, so even getting vaccinated a few months from now – when vaccine supplies are more plentiful – won't be too late.



Bryan Mims, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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