Local News

Wake County runs out of H1N1 vaccine

Posted October 19, 2009 9:30 a.m. EDT
Updated October 20, 2009 1:03 a.m. EDT

— Wake County public health officials say the county has exhausted its latest supply of the H1N1 flu vaccine but that more doses are coming.

"I don't want people to start feeling the panic, because, even though this is a limited amount that we have, the news we're getting from (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and from the state is that we will continue to get a steady flow of vaccine," said Community Health Director Sue Lynn Ledford. "I don't want people to have that panicked feeling."

It's unclear, however, when the county might receive its next supply.

"Ultimately, there will be enough supply, but it's coming in slowly at first," state epidemiologist Dr. Megan Davies said. "Then, supply will increase on a week-by-week basis."

Earlier this month, Wake County distributed 3,500 doses of a nasal mist form of the vaccine that contained a treated form of the live virus to those that met certain criteria from the CDC. The county distributed 3,000 injectable doses last week to four clinics.

Public health officials said the turnout was the biggest they have seen for any type of vaccine. At times, the wait was about 3.5 hours.

"It's not the end of the world," said Nate Sheaffer, who missed out on the vaccination for his children. "We don't want them to get swine flu, but we're just in the same boat as everyone else."

Others expressed concern about who was getting the vaccination, which is being reserved for those classified as high-priority groups – pregnant women, individuals ages 6 months to 24 years, ages 25 to 64 with underlying health issues, health care and emergency workers and anyone caring for children younger than 6 months old.

"If you are in a target group for the vaccine, you'll get equal consideration," Davies said. "But if you're not … then you're not going to be getting that vaccine ahead of any of those people."

Meanwhile, in Cumberland County, the public health department, at 227 Fountainhead Lane, began offering H1N1 shots and nasal vaccines. Potential patients were advised to call ahead (910-433-3657) to check on supply.

Duke University also had the vaccination on hand for pregnant staff members and students who are ineligible for the nasal mist. Durham County health officials also held a clinic at its Staff Development Center on Hillandale Road. Another clinic is scheduled for Wednesday, if the supply holds.

FDA: Don't buy H1N1 drugs online

The Food and Drug Administration is advising people not to buy treatments for the H1N1 virus online.

"Products that are offered for sale with claims to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus must be carefully evaluated," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement. "Unless these products are proven to be safe and effective for the claims that are made, it is not known whether they will prevent the transmission of the virus or offer effective remedies against infection."

Medicines sold online could have passed their expiration date or contain dangerous ingredients, the FDA warned.

"It's always a possibility that they could contain an ingredient or something that could hurt people, we just don't know," said Alyson Saben, deputy director of FDA's office of enforcement.

The FDA also said some online companies were not shipping treatments out in enough time to treat someone infected with H1N1.