Waiting for swine flu vaccines?

October 20, 2009 5:46:09 PM PDT
Counties are once again waiting for another shipment of the H1N1 vaccine.Nearly 1,200 doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine are all but gone in Cumberland County.

The CDC says it has plenty, but delivery is taking much longer than expected.

Health officials in Wake County are still hoping the next shipment of vaccines will arrive by the middle of the week and will be given to those in high risk groups. By next month there should be more vaccines for everyone else.

The health department in Fayetteville received their shipment Friday. During the past two days, people came out in droves to get the shot.

Fayetteville resident Pearl Marshall was first in line Tuesday. She said she got there early for a very good reason.

"Well, I have this immune deficiency and I need to get it done so that I'll be healthy," she said. "I had the first one. This will be the H1N1."

"It certainly can spread like wildfire," Fayetteville Resident Beth Lee said."Once it starts, the sniffles and the colds and the sneezing, it just goes right through with children. So it will be very beneficial if the parents do have their children immunized with it."

The H1N1 flu shot is in high demand as doctors fight to protect people from the virus that has killed several.

"We have some hospitalized people, but we don't have any death," Dr. Lan Tran-Phu said. "And that's what we want to avoid. It's children or pregnant women becoming severally ill with H1N1."

At WakeMed facilities across Wake County have an average of 65 kids a day show up with flu like symptoms. About an average of three are admitted each day. Both Duke and Rex hospitals report similar numbers of cases.

"We are most concerned about children with chronic illnesses like asthma and diabetes developing complications," said Dr. Mark Piehl with WakeMed Children's Hospital. "But we are seeing pneumonia and other complications in healthy children equally as often."

The main message from a group of experts from Wake County's three big hospitals is get vaccinated especially if you fall into a high risk category.

"Pregnant women, young children, health care workers and those with chronic illness or immune suppression are particularly at risk," said Dr. Cameron Wolf with Duke Infectious Disease.

Officials say pregnant women and children less than 3-months-old should see their doctor or go to the hospital immediately if they're showing flu-like symptoms. But everyone else should be prepared to treat themselves at home since most cases are mild.

Health officials recommend you create flu kits with thermometers, fever reducers, tissues and lots of hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap and wipes.

Anyone should go to the hospital if they're having trouble breathing or if their child's symptoms worsen.

"If you have a child that is unable to drink fluids, if they are irritable, inconsolable, even when being held, or, if they have a blue-ish color to their skin or a fever with a rash, those would be reasons to go to the emergency room," said Dr. Linda Butler from Rex Hospital.

While the main stress is on children, on average five adults are being admitted into WakeMed emergency departments each day with flu.

Health providers across the county are showing a big spike in the number of flu cases.

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