Confusion over flu vaccine in Alabama

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The vaccine that's already here is the season flu vaccine, a good thing because the flu season in the state which is normally between January through March is already here. Jim McVay of the Alabama Department of Public Health.

"The traditional flu vaccine and it's available now and there's plenty of it and should be ample supply of it," said McVay Bureau of Health Promotion and Information Director.

What is not here is the H1N1 flu vaccine. Dr. McVay says it won't be ready until mid-October. It would have been here much sooner had the medical profession been able to predict the Swine flu outbreak.

"If we had known about H1N1 back in February and March when they started manufacturing the vaccine, the H1N1 strain would have been put into the vaccine but it had already gone on to the manufacturer. By then it was too late to stop it," said McVay.

Dr. McVay says once the Swine flu vaccine becomes available, health care providers know who they will target; the very young.

"We will be setting up clinics especially children 6 months to 24 years of age, families and children under 6 months of age and expectant mothers," said McVay.

600,000 doses of Swine flu vaccine are on the way with more arriving by the end of December. Considering what's happened in the last month, that vaccine can't come soon enough.

"Unfortunately, 7 people have died in Alabama from H1N1 influenza in the last month,' McVay said.

McVay says at this time he doesn't know the exact dates in October when the vaccine will arrive but will let the public know as well as the locations where the vaccine will be distributed.

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