Central Texas Finally Gets Some Swine Flu Vaccine, But Not Much Of It

(October 27, 2009)—The Bell and Waco-McLennan County Health Districts said Tuesday they’ve received their first shipments of swine flu vaccine, but said the doses on hand fall far short of what’s actually needed.

The Waco-McLennan County Health District said it has received 4,880 doses of swine flu vaccine, but the Texas Department of State Health Services says the initial shipment should be available only to residents in certain high-risk groups.

Vaccinations will be offered Wednesday to pregnant women, children 24- to 59-months, high-risk children ages 5- to 18-years old and health care workers who serve residents in those risk groups.

Vaccinations are free and are available on a first come-first serve basis beginning at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and continuing until 4:30 p.m. at 225 W. Waco Drive in Waco, the health district said.

The Bell County Public Health District said Tuesday it has received a small shipment of the vaccine, but said the amount received isn’t adequate to public demand.

Bell County health officials said the vaccine would be given first to high-risk residents.

“Based on current projections, we do not expect sufficient quantities of vaccine for general/public clinics until December. If projections overestimate actual supply, it could be later,” the health district’s statement said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday more than 22 million doses of the vaccine are now available and that production is increasing.

What Is Swine Flu?
The current virus is described as a new subtype of swine flu or A/H1N1 not previously detected in swine or humans. The virus combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before.

How Is It Transmitted?
People cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Most influenza viruses, including the swine flu virus, are not spread by food. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe. No food safety issues have been identified, related to the flu. Preliminary investigations have determined that none of the people infected with the flu had contact with hogs. The virus is spreading by human-to-human transmission.

Swine Flu Symptoms
Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of seasonal flu and include:

Lack of appetite
Runny nose
Sore throat

What To Do If You Get Sick
If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others. If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
Fast breathing or trouble breathing
Bluish skin color
Not drinking enough fluids
Not waking up or not interacting
Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Sudden dizziness
Severe or persistent vomiting

Steps You Can Take To Stay Healthy
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze
Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them

Links And Other Resources
The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has a toll-free information line to answer any questions you may have about the swine flu. The number is 1-888-777-5320

Federal Flu Information Web Site

World Health Organization Human Swine Influenza Site

World Health Organization Human Swine Influenza Site

CDC Human Swine Flu Investigation Site

Texas Department Of State Health Services Swine Flu Site

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