County Receives First Shipments of Swine Flu Vaccine

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Alameda County received its first shipment of H1N1 swine flu vaccines Tuesday as part of a national distribution which began this week and directed certain high-priority groups to receive inoculations immediately.

According to a statement from the Alameda County Public Health Department, the department received an undisclosed number of H1N1 vaccines in its spray mist form, which is "only recommended for healthy, non-pregnant people aged 2 to 49 years."

"Those residents at highest risk of exposure to or complications from the H1N1 virus should contact their primary care provider for the vaccine," the statement said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who have certain pre-existing health conditions, are pregnant, are medical personnel or child caregivers and anyone from six months through 24 years of age should seek out the vaccine.

However, the nasal form of the vaccine, the only kind contained in current shipments, is not recommended for pregnant women, infants younger than two years old or those with underlying health conditions. These groups must wait until an injectable form arrives later this month, said Vanessa Cordova, public information officer for the Alameda County Public Health Department.

The county and area medical centers expect more doses of both kinds of the vaccine this month, and the county plans to host 19 vaccine clinics beginning on Nov. 7. According to Cordova, H1N1 vaccinations will be given free of charge.

"The federal government will be paying for all H1N1 vaccinations," Cordova said. "Vaccinations at hospitals may include an administrative cost, but they will be covered by insurance companies, and that will be reimbursed by the government. However, the seasonal flu shot is not included in this."

Zandra Lee, a spokesperson for the City of Berkeley's Department of Public Health, declined to comment on the topic until she could gather more information.

As for UC Berkeley, Pam Cameron, assistant director of clinical services for University Health Services, said she hopes to receive an initial shipment of about 20 doses by the end of this week and then begin distributing them to childcare workers who have a high risk of exposure. University Health Services has not yet finalized plans for campuswide inoculations.

H1N1 has spread around the world since it originated in Mexico in April. More than 340,000 cases of H1N1 and over 4,100 deaths have been reported to the World Health Organization as of Sept. 27.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the first shipment of the vaccine received by University Health Services will be given to medical workers. In fact, childcare workers will be the first to receive the doses.

An earlier version of this article also incorrectly stated that University Health Services had not yet formulated plans for campuswide inoculations. In fact, it has not yet finalized its plans.


Contact Alan Cai at [email protected]

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