First load of 14,400 vaccine doses expected next week


POSTED: Friday, October 02, 2009

Hawaii's first shipment of swine flu vaccine is expected to arrive next week, according to the state Health Department.

Spokeswoman Janice Okubo said yesterday that Hawaii has been allocated 14,400 doses, based on population, for the first round of shipments, and the department is placing an order to begin receiving it.

The department is trying to compile requests from hospitals, physicians and other groups that pre-registered to receive the vaccine, she said.

“;The only challenge with the first order is it is all FluMist (a nasal spray),”; she said, noting some medical providers probably want to offer flu shots as well.

Okubo said the manufacturer will ship supplies directly to doctors and hospitals who have ordered it.

Vaccine allocations will be coming in every week with increased orders, she said.

The first doses are targeted for first responders—emergency medical services, fire and hospital health care workers.

“;As we get more vaccine in the next few weeks and get indictable version, it will be available to more and more people and private physicians will have it,”; Okubo said.

FluMist is advised only for people from age 2 to 49 and it can't be given to pregnant women, who must wait for the flu shots, Okubo said.

November is the target date for H1N1 vaccine in schools, after seasonal flu clinics have ended, she said.

Hawaii has had 10 confirmed deaths—nine adults and one child—associated with H1N1 influenza since the first cases were confirmed here May 5. All but one adult and the child had underlying medical problems, according to the Health Department.