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First Round of Swine Flu Vaccinations Distributed in the U.S.

Sarah Kearns, for HealthLeaders Media, October 7, 2009

The first doses of the H1N1 vaccination have arrived in the United States, with a nurse being one of the first Americans to receive the vaccine. Holly Smith, pediatric nurse with two daughters, works at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis, TN.

Le Bonheur, which has been on the front lines of the epidemic since late August, has received 100 doses of nasal spray vaccine. The vaccines were given to healthcare workers working in an outdoor tent set up to treat children with flu symptoms. Recently, the hospital has already seen at least 3,000 children with flu symptoms.

Marion County, IN, and Indianapolis had a similar vaccine rollout program and distributed 5,200 doses of the vaccine to local hospitals. Public health authorities in 21 other states and four large cities; Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, have been shipped the swine flu vaccination, roughly totaling 600,000 doses.

The nasal spray vaccine is only approved for people between the ages of 2 and 49 with no health problems. Health officials expect 10 to 20 million doses, in either the nasal spray or injectable form, to be delivered each week until December.

State health departments will set up hotlines and Web pages as more vaccines become available and vaccination sites are selected. The Web pages will inform anyone of the nearest center offering vaccines once a ZIP code is entered.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of immunization and respiratory disease for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an official statement to the New York Times, that eventually there will be a similar page on flu.gov, the federal Web site.


Sarah Kearns is an editor for HCPro in the Quality and Patient Safety Group. Contact Sarah at skearns@hcpro.com.

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