Reported by David Waterman, affiliate WVOC Newsradio 560
Health officials and community leaders held a statewide “swine flu summit” Tuesday in Columbia to update those involved in the vaccination process. Jim Beasley, with the Department of Health and Environmental Control, says it was a good chance to get on the same page as the effort gears up to vaccinate against the H1N1 virus in South Carolina.
“At this time, some of the DHEC county health departments are beginning to schedule – typically by appointment only – vaccinations for H1N1. However, it’s not all of the counties yet and it’s still a little bit spotty. And that’s mostly due to the fact that the spigot that’s the distribution chain bringing the H1N1 vaccine to SC is still only barely open. It’s just trickling, and we’re really only getting a small amount of flu vaccine in right now,”says Beasley.
He says shipments are expected to increase as the month goes on, and more vaccination clinics will get rolling. Some, but not all public health departments in South Carolina are scheduling appointments for the swine flu vaccine.Beasley says the swine flu vaccine has been arriving slowly and there’s not enough on hand yet to gear up many clinics.
That corresponds with a similar slowdown in the shipments of regular seasonal flu vaccine, regionally and nationally.
Beasley says, “The same distribution chain that’s been handling the H1N1 vaccine is the same distribution chain that’s handling the seasonal vaccine. And therefore, we’ve got twice as much vaccine that that particular system is trying to get out at the same time. So we’re going to experience some backlogs and a few glitches. However, we would expect to see additional seasonal flu vaccine arriving in SC probably around the first of November and in the meantime, we’ll also continue to receive small shipments of H1N1 vaccine.”
As of October 10, the Southeast U.S. has reported more cases of H1N1 that other regions.