October 6, 2009
Virginia has received its first shipments of H1N1 influenza vaccine. Thousands of doses of nasal mist will immunize health care workers.
James B. Farrell, director of the Virginia Department of Health's immunization division, said Tuesday that 83,700 doses of nasal-mist vaccine have been delivered to hospitals, clinics and local health departments.
These first doses are being given to health care workers who have contact with patients. Farrell said the nasal spray uses a weakened live virus, and should only be administered to healthy people.
State health department officials say the shipments include 200 doses that arrived Tuesday in the district that includes Martinsville and Henry, Patrick and Franklin counties, and 300 doses are expected at hospitals and clinics in the district that contains Giles and Floyd counties and the cities of Christiansburg, Blacksburg and Radford.
The University of Virginia's health system and student health center received a shipment Tuesday and the nasal mist is being given to their employees, said student health director Dr. James Turner.
Hospitals and clinics have five days to report to the state health department after administering the immunizations.
In Richmond, Children's Hospital is immunizing employees with the 100 nasal-spray doses it received Monday, spokesman Matt Brady said.
Farrell says the injectable vaccine is expected to arrive sometime this week for high-risk groups, including pregnant women and people with existing illnesses. In-school immunization clinics and pediatricians' offices can expect to receive vaccines by the late October, he said.
By the end of the month, health officials expect the state to have received about 1.3 million doses of its anticipated total allocation of 4.7 million doses of vaccine for the so-called swine flu. Most people in the general public should have access to vaccinations by mid-November.