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Gov. Tim Kaine says adequate swine flu vaccine supply could take weeks

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases its first shipment of the vaccine - currently projected for mid-October, the state's share would likely be about 900,000 doses, presuming the vaccine is distributed evenly across the U.S. population
/ Source: WSLS 10

6:33 p.m. By MATTHEW BARAKAT Associated Press Writer ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The first batch of swine flu vaccine isn’t expected to include enough doses for every Virginian who wants one, but state officials said Tuesday they plan to have an adequate supply of the shots within two months of its release.     When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases its first shipment of the vaccine - currently projected for mid-October, the state’s share would likely be about 900,000 doses, presuming the vaccine is distributed evenly across the U.S. population, according to state officials.     About 30 percent of Americans get the regular seasonal flu vaccination each year, and some polls suggest that twice as many people will be interested in getting the swine flu vaccine, said state Health Commissioner Karen Remley.     If those numbers are extrapolated to Virginia’s 7.8 million residents, the initial supply won’t meet demand.     However, Remley and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said they expect to have enough doses of the vaccine for every Virginian who wants it. Kaine said his goal is that anybody in Virginia who wants the vaccine will be able to get it within two months of the vaccine’s release.     Speaking after a security meeting with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and regional leaders, Kaine said more than $20 million from the federal government has gone to the state’s local jurisdictions for swine flu planning. He added that although Virginia has had to make budget cuts, public health is a top priority.     Virginia will try to allocate the vaccine to priority groups, which include pregnant women and children, heath care workers and emergency personnel.     Currently, the swine flu vaccine is being tested by the federal government for safety and effectiveness.     Current data suggest that swine flu, also called the H1N1 flu virus, is no more harmful than seasonal flu, Remley said. But when it strikes, it tends to be more severe when it hits pregnant women and children, and less severe among the elderly.     But Remley cautioned that the virus is still relatively new, and public health officials will be monitoring for any mutations or changes in how the virus afflicts the population.     Kaine said the state has no plans to close a particular school if a swine flu case is diagnosed among the student body.     Public health officials are also urging people to stay home from work and school if they suspect they are getting the flu and remain home for at least 24 hours after the fever goes away.     Swine flu has sickened more than 1 million Americans since it emerged in April, and is responsible for about 500 deaths. In Virginia, the virus has been associated with three deaths, according to the state health department.     Kaine, who’s also Democratic National Committee chairman, visited Samuel Tucker Elementary to talk about the state’s preparations for swine flu. Students gave a demonstration on how to wash your hands properly, and the governor’s technique received poor marks from 4th-grader Michelle Marfo.     When it was Kaine’s turn to try, he got it all wrong, Marfo said. Not enough soap. Didn’t rinse the requisite 20 seconds. And he should have used a paper towel to turn off the faucet, rather than his bare hand.     “These guys taught me something,“ Kaine said after the presentation. ——— 11:09 a.m. ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine got a lesson in hand washing from a group of Alexandria elementary students.     At a press conference Tuesday at Samuel Tucker Elementary School to discuss Virginia’s swine flu preparedness, a group of fourth graders demonstrated proper hand washing techniques.     When Kaine took his turn, the children told him he did it all wrong. He didn’t use enough soap, didn’t rinse long enough and should have used a paper towel to turn off the faucet.     Kaine said a big part of Virginia’s plan is to encourage vaccinations when a vaccine becomes available, most likely in mid-October.     Public health officials urge people to stay home from work and school if they suspect they are getting the flu and stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever goes away.