Early next week, the first swine flu vaccine should be in some doctors’ offices. The first batch of six to seven million doses will go directly to doctors, clinics, and other providers designated by each state.
So who should get in line for the first batch? DHEC Spokesman Thom Berry says, “One of the things that we do know is that the first shipment of vaccine will be the flu mist nasal spray. Now that nasal spray contains a very weakened form of the live flu virus. So it’s going to be somewhat restricted as to who can take that, Primarily it ‘s going to be otherwise healthy individuals between the ages of 2 and 49.”
DHEC spokesman Thom Berry says that the first of many shipments are expected to begin arriving next week, and another 10 to 20 million doses arriving each week. “While we don’t have a firm fix on the number of total doses that are going to be coming, we do know that it’s certainly going to be in the thousands and thousands and thousands of doses over the next weeks. We know that it’s not going to come in all at one time. It’s going to come in weekly shipments or perhaps shipments every two weeks. But we do anticipate that those shipments will be beginning once the orders start going in later this week.”
There have been some serious cases in our state, according to DHEC. “We’re still seeing a number of cases that we’re trying to update on a weekly basis of not only those that have been hospitalized, but also deaths as well. But since we don’t have reports coming in from every hospital or every clinic, it’s kind of hard to get a firm fix on the numbers.
“South Carolina –it appears to be pretty much going along the lines of the other states in the south and southeast, where we’re seeing more cases than we’re being reported in other parts of the country. And that the cases that we are seeing are tracking pretty much along the same lines of mild to moderate severity. However, we are seeing some very serious cases, and a few cases that have resulted in deaths, ” says Berry.
Berry says that it takes a few days, once you get the flu shot or the nasal spray, for it to become fully effective. He stressed that everyone should talk with their health care provider to find out when the best time is to get a flu shot. Whether it’s the regular seasonal vaccine which is already available throughout the state, of the H1 N1 vaccine, which they anticipate getting very soon.
“What we’re being told is that the manufacturers hope to begin shipping as soon as they get the orders. And they’re pretty prompt.”
Over time, the government expects to have a total of 250 million doses.