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Swine flu vaccine arrives


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POSTED: Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The first batch of H1N1 swine flu vaccine arrived yesterday at the state Health Department, but officials say it is not time yet for most people to be inoculated.

State epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said the state's initial allotment of about 14,400 doses of the vaccine will first be given to health, emergency and essential workers.

Also on the priority list are pregnant women; those caring for infants younger than 6 months old; children, teenagers and young adults (up to age 24); and anyone under 65 who has a weakened immune system or certain medical conditions.

Other healthy adults over 25 will have to wait until later this month or next month for their vaccine doses, Park said. “;Everyone needs to get a vaccination,”; she said, “;but the message is everyone has a place in line.”;

The first doses arriving are in nasal spray form, which is approved only for people 2 to 49 years old. So people 50 and over, children under 2, pregnant women and people with some health conditions will have to wait until the injectable version arrives.

               

     

 

COMMON QUESTIONS

        Question: How many doses are necessary?
       

Answer: Only children under 9 will need two doses. If they have had previous flu shots, their pediatricians might decide only one is needed.

       

Q: If I receive a seasonal flu vaccine, do I also need a swine flu vaccine?

       

A: Yes. Swine flu vaccine does not protect against seasonal flu, and vice versa.

       

Q: Can I get both vaccinations at the same time?

       

A: Yes, if they are given by needle. You should not get both the nasal spray forms at the same time.

       

Q: How much will it cost?

       

A: The swine flu vaccine itself is free. Doctors or other providers may charge for giving it. The government is urging them to keep fees low.

       

Q: Can I get the flu from a flu shot?

       

A: No, but you might have side effects that resemble a mild cold, including fever, aches and nausea. You could also catch a separate cold or flu that the shot does not protect against.

       

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New York Times

       

But officials say don't worry, more vaccine is on its way. Hawaii should eventually receive up to 1.2 million vaccine doses.

The H1N1 vaccine does not protect against the seasonal flu, so people will have to get two flu shots this season, Park added.

Children whose parents sign release forms will get the vaccine at flu clinics in schools. Park said there will be two flu clinics in schools — one for the seasonal flu and another clinic for H1N1 vaccine shots.

College and university health clinics will also be giving out flu shots, she said.

Unlike the seasonal flu, seniors are not on the priority list for the H1N1 vaccine because young people seem to be more vulnerable to infection, Park said.

The state is also setting up a Web site at flu.hawaii.gov for people to get more information.

Hawaii had its first wave of swine flu infections in April, with the first cases confirmed May 5. Ten deaths were linked to the outbreak. “;If we can vaccinate as many people as we can early, we may not see a second wave,”; Park said.

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The New York Times contributed to this report.