Video: Swine flu vaccine rolls out

  1. Closed captioning of: Swine flu vaccine rolls out

    >>> hello, everyone. i'm dr. nancy snyderman . we begin today. our top story the h1n1 vaccine is here. the first americans vaccinated against swine flu and the children's medical center in memphis received the first shipment of h1n1 vaccine in the nation this morning. and in indianapolis right now, officials are hold agnews conference where health care workers are about to receive their h1n1 vaccinations. with me is an e.r. doc in indianapolis. he'll be receiving his vaccine spray in just a little while. and dr. william schnappter. brave man, necessary thing, why are you going ahead and being the first one in the line?

    >> well, first of all, thank you for having me here today.

    >> you bet.

    >> really, it's about the right thing. it's about providing the safest environment of care for our patients and this is just good patient care on behalf of all primary care providers that are out there in the trenches and both the outpatient clinices and free hospital environment, as well.

    >> charles, you've certainly seen the demonstrations in new york state with health care workers saying that they shouldn't have to be vaccinated. has your hospital taken a stand on whether health care workers should be at the front of the line?

    >> i think our hospital administration has come out in strong support of this and this initiative and it is the right thing to do. we are out there with patients from all different kinds of backgrounds and all kind of different disease processes and all kinds of medical problems and it is the right thing to do in order to protect ourselves and protect our patients. from the effects of this.

    >> bill, there's a new poll that shows 53% of people say they'll get the vaccine, but, boy, that leaves a lot of people who say no and the two things that seem to come up, one, i don't think i'll get the virus anyway, and, two, they haven't seen enough safety data. it looks like the population is divided 50/50. people want to get to the front of the line and get protected and more folks more skeptical and, of course, this is a safe vaccine that has been made the way the seasonal vaccine has been made. it is not only safe, it is very effective.

    >> certainly we realize that we're in this crazy twilight zone between people getting infected and how much vaccine there is going to be a and a rollout. do you think sufficient vaccine in time for people who need it? bill, i'll let you start.

    >> yes, i think in time plenty of vaccine. it will come in a series of shipments. first shipments are rather modest and more will come towards the end of the week and each week thereafter it will get out to the providers and people have to pay attention of where the vaccine it and where it is available. but i think it will get out there.

    >> i would like to take a listen to the state of connecticut , they have set up an h1n1 hotline and i'd like you to take a listen and then we'll talk about it.

    >> thank you for calling the connecticut public of health.

    >> charles, one thing we've spoken on this program before is the fact that there has never, i think, been such a confusing flu season as this one. does indiana have anything like that where people can go and just access concrete information?

    >> absolutely. i think both our state and local health departments have done an incredible job of trying to communicate with the public and providing the access to the information out there. there are hotlines available here for the public to call. those are to be tied in with 911 dispatch eventually, as well. there is a real effort on the part of all the public health officials out there to get the information to the public effectively as well as to get it to their providers effectively so they can educate their patients, as needed.

    >> today it is the flu mist coming out and the nasal mist and this is not intended for the children under 2 or pregnant women and realfry the 2 to 49 healthy age population.

    >> that's absolutely correct.

    >> thank you, sir. thank you, both.

    >> well, thank you.

    >> thanks, nancy.

    >> you bet.

    >>> stay with msnbc for continuing

updated 10/5/2009 9:37:05 AM ET 2009-10-05T13:37:05

And we're off: Swine flu vaccinations begin this week, after months of preparations and promises. But don't start bugging your doctor about an appointment just yet.

Inoculations won't gear up in earnest until mid-October, when at least 40 million doses against what scientists call the 2009 H1N1 flu will have rolled out, with more arriving each week after that.

Here's what you need to know:

Q: Why not wait to start until there's enough for everybody instead of the confusing here-and-there vaccinations?

A: Even though Sunday was the official start of flu season, this H1N1 wasn't heeding the calendar — it's already causing illness in nearly every state. That means getting vaccine to the people at highest risk is a race. So each week, states will distribute however much they have on hand.

Q: If factories are still racing vaccine out the door, how can I be sure it's safe?

A: The Food and Drug Administration clears batches of vaccine before they're released. The H1N1 vaccine is made in the same way as the regular winter flu vaccine that is used with very few, minor side effects by nearly 100 million Americans a year. There's no biological reason the H1N1 vaccine should react any differently, and no red flags have appeared in studies of several thousand people.

"What I want people to know is that no corners have been cut at all," said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Q: Why is the nasal-spray vaccine arriving before the shots, and can I use either one?

A: They're considered equally effective, but the maker of the squirt-in-the-nose FluMist was able to finish brewing sooner. There is an important difference, though. Flu shots, made of killed flu virus, are for anyone without an egg allergy. FluMist, besides the egg issue, is only for use in healthy people ages 2 to 49. It's made of live but weakened flu virus. So some people on the first-in-line list for H1N1 vaccine aren't eligible for FluMist.

Q: Who's first in line?

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A: Pregnant women; the young, ages 6 months through 24 years; people younger than 64 who have conditions such as asthma or diabetes that increase the risk of complications from flu; health workers and caregivers of newborns.

Q: I thought flu was most dangerous to people 65 and older.

A: Regular winter flu is most dangerous to older adults, but the new H1N1 is predominantly striking the young.

Q: How many shots, or squirts, will I need?

A: Most people will need one dose each of the H1N1 vaccine and the regular winter flu vaccine. But health authorities believe children under 10 will need two doses of the H1N1 vaccine, about three weeks apart. And some very young children getting their first regular flu vaccination will need two doses of it, too, for a total a four inoculations.

Q: Can I get both types of vaccine at the same visit?

A: If you're lucky enough to find a provider who has both at the same time, a jab in each arm is OK, or a jab of one and a squirt of the other. If you opt for the FluMist version of each vaccine, however, you're supposed to wait three to four weeks between squirts.

Q: What if I'm not on the high-risk list and want H1N1 vaccine anyway?

A: Only some will be physically reserved, doses sent to schools or obstetricians, for example. But eventually enough is expected for everyone who wants it within just a few weeks. The government doesn't expect people to be turned away unless that day's supplies run out.

Q: What will it cost?

A: The H1N1 vaccine itself is free because the government bought it with your tax dollars. But providers can charge a small fee for administering it, usually about $20. Regular flu shots tend to cost up to $35.

Q: If H1N1 is the only kind of flu making people sick now, why do I need the regular shot?

A: Health authorities expect regular flu strains to start circulating, too, as it gets colder; seasonal flu typically peaks in January.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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