California gets H1N1 vaccine shipment

October 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Health officials say all the initial swine flu vaccine doses this week will be the nasal spray version, but next week arm injections will begin.

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About 400,000 doses are being delivered around the state. Santa Clara, Contra Costa and Napa counties just received their first batches of the nasal spray "flumist vaccine."

Napa County will begin administrating the vaccine only to children sometime next week. The Center for Diseases Control wants everyone to know that eventually everyone will get the flu vaccine.

There was much to do about an unassuming box carrying the first shipment of the H1N1 vaccine. Of the 900 doses received in Napa County, public health got 200 of the nasal spray vaccine.

"We're really hoping with our public health doses that we will be able to get them in the hands of people who are uninsured or underinsured or couldn't otherwise get access to the vaccine," said Napa County spokesperson Elizabeth Emmett.

The remaining 700 vaccines were distributed among Kaiser and private doctors in the county.

The CDC recommends vaccinating kids first. Children age nine and younger will need two doses of the mist or the injectable.

"They need a little more to kick it into gear because most of us have some kind of immunity in our system," said Emmett.

"So vaccinate as many people as you can now. So that second dose which is given three to four weeks after the first dose, they'll be plenty more to provide them," said Dr. Thomas Frieden from the CDC.

Santa Clara County also got more than 14,000 doses of the vaccine.

The nasal spray flu vaccine is made with a live virus. But the virus is weakened, this way it can't effectively reproduce itself inside the body.

And the live virus found in the nasal flu vaccine can't survive in the lungs where warmer temperatures exist.

"My children will get it. Other public health and societal leaders and experts will get it, we'll have their families get it. It is something that we have a high degree of confidence in," said Dr. Frieden.

Another shipment, this time injectables will become available next week for pregnant women and the elderly.

The CDC says the vaccine is an excellent match to the virus that is spreading through the U.S.

Napa County reported its first death on July 26 at a local hospital. The victim was a man in his early 20s. As of September 26, the California Department of Public Health says that 188 people in California have died from the virus.

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