H1N1 vaccines. Who goes first?

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The H1N1 virus has triggered the largest amount of school closings to date - 200 so far. More than 65,000 students were absent Thursday, up 2,000 since Monday. Adding to worries, lawmakers say the country will have received only 25 percent of expected vaccines by the end of the month. A little more than 500,000 doses have currently been allotted to Texas. In East Texas, the first round of shots were given to health care workers Thursday, which has some wondering: Why not children? It's one of the first H1N1 injectable vaccines given in East Texas.

"We've received probably around 200 total doses - which is obviously not adequate to do any sort of public vaccination clinic," said Stephanie Taylor, with the Northeast Texas Public Health District.

There aren't many to give so the Northeast Texas Public Health District is reserving the first batch for health care workers only.

"We want to make sure that the health care workers are healthy," said Taylor. "That they are at work so we can take care of those kids and immunize those kids as soon as we get the vaccine."

They urge parents to check with pediatricians because they should have adequate supply first. Dr. Ken Haygood says this is a problem.

"We are hoping to get the vaccine in time to make a real difference," said Haygood.

He has seen no vaccines. And, the doctors who have, only have the nasal mist.

"The group of people that can get that vaccine is fairly small for us," said Dr. Rick Rogers, with Trinity Mother Frances Pediatric Clinic. "They have to be over two and they can't have any respiratory problems. The number of people that that is useful for in our patient population is limited, so we need the injections and the children's injections."

Parents are anxious, and Haygood says that when shots arrive at his office, the first priority is children - adult health care workers can wait.

"I plan on waiting myself," said Haygood. "If I get the flu, it's bad. It is really annoying, it is very costly and it is no fun to be sick with the flu. But, if the child gets the flu, it can be a much more serious problem."

The Northeast Texas Public Health District says it will set up a public clinic when enough shots are in.

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