Access to H1N1 Vaccine Easing as Interest in Shot Wanes

Marrecca Fiore
Fox News
December 14, 2009

With 66 million doses of H1N1 vaccine now available in the U.S., municipalities have begun easing restrictions to access, and federal officials believe the vaccine may soon be available to all.

Starting Tuesday, the Tennessee counties of Memphis and Shelby will begin administering H1N1 vaccine to everyone who wants it, joining several other municipalities across the country that have already opened access or are considering doing so.

“I get the sense that more areas are starting to vaccinate outside the priority groups,” said Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Skinner said federal officials have been clear in their desire to have priority groups, such as pregnant women and children, vaccinated first.

“But federal guidelines also give states the flexibility to vaccinate outside the priority groups if the states feel that’s the best thing to do given the issues surrounding supply and demand at the local level,” Skinner said.

States are in the best position to make the call to open the vaccine to everyone, Skinner said, adding that more states will be vaccinating outside the priority groups in the coming weeks and months as more of it becomes available.

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“There will come a time when everyone will have access to it,” he said.

The H1N1 vaccine became available in the U.S. in early October, about a month after schools and colleges opened. By mid-month, 14 million doses of the vaccine were available, about half of what the U.S. expected to have received from manufacturers.

A top Dallas County (Texas) health official on Saturday called for distribution of the H1N1 vaccine to everyone, as more vaccine appears to be headed toward North Texas pharmacies.

The move comes as interest in obtaining the shot by high-risk groups appears to be waning.

Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, told the Dallas Morning News he was concerned that the vaccine supply already shared with local pharmacies had not found enough takers among the targeted high-risk groups.

A spot check of local pharmacies by The Dallas Morning News last week found that some stores still had hundreds of shots available for people in high-risk groups.

In addition to local pharmacies, chain drugstores including Walgreens and CVS are offering the vaccines in Dallas County.

Walgreens, which is distributing vaccine in 25-30 states, is complying with federal guidelines and immunizing only high-risk groups against the virus, said spokesman Jim Cohn. He said the company would be willing to offer the vaccinations to everyone if that were the directive of the municipal health department.

“We work on a state-by-state and county-by-county basis,” he said. “In some cases, we’re sitting and waiting for the vaccine. In other cases, the (municipal) government came to us early on and asked us to be part of the supply chain so that the vaccine could be distributed as efficiently as possible. We would like to be able to receive and offer vaccine in all 50 states and it is becoming more widely available as time goes on.”

Despite reports of an H1N1 virus mutation in Norway, a federal health official said Tuesday that the H1N1 vaccine is well-matched and still a person’s best defense against the virus.

“We have not seen clusters of resistance,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The cases reported are interesting, but they are not of concern.”

Frieden said the H1N1 virus is gradually decreasing in the United States, but is still widespread in 32 states and people should remain vigilant.

“Although the flu is going down,” Frieden said, “it’s far from gone. … And flu season lasts until May so there’s still a lot of time to see what will happen.”

The CDC polled 12 health experts who were split as to whether the country will see another surge of H1N1 this flu season.

“One (expert) said flip a coin,” Frieden said. “We don’t know what the future will hold. … What we do know is that the vaccine is the very best way to protect yourself.”

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2 Responses to “Access to H1N1 Vaccine Easing as Interest in Shot Wanes”

  1. Pedro Sandoval Says:

    I can’t believe it is happening again and people are falling for it. The governments of the world were able to keep this horrible deed in the late 60s and early 70s and again it is the only solution our governments can thing of. Can’t they just tell us the truth? Why do they think it is the only solution? Haven’t they learned anything?

    Why do the governments of the industrialized world have to be so devious. Speaking about the issues of exploding population would be well understood today. Why do they have to go and lie to people that there is a horrible disease that it can’t be stopped unless we are vaccinated so that they can damage selective people’s reproductive organs without their knowledge. Consequentially leaving some of us unable to father a child. Please guys it is happening again, it happened to me when they introduced the terrible disease call Polio.

    There no reason I can think or that a doctor can find why a have low sperm count. I was vaccinate and that lead to may condition. It happened to millions in the late sixties and early seventies. Don’t let your children become a victim, keep them away and demand your government to be truthful about their intensions.

    • dochand Says:

      Doc here: First, thank you for the comment. Second, I sympathize with your condition, brought on by so-called immunization. Third, until the population accepts the fact that the ‘elite’ have an agenda and that agenda is being accelerated to bring about their ultimate goal – complete world domination and enslavement of the populace – they will continue to push the things they require for their achievement. Lastly, please continue to spend the time necessary to enlighten those who will listen. Thank you again!

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