Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nashville hospitals get injectable H1N1 vaccine

By Christina E. Sanchez • THE TENNESSEAN • October 15, 2009 Nashville hospitals have started to receive shipments of the injectable version of the H1N1 vaccine, which can be taken by people who aren't eligible for the nasal spray. But the H1N1 flu shots aren't for the public just yet. Baptist Hospital received 600 of the 3,000 shot doses it ordered. Vanderbilt University Medical Center also got about 2,500 doses. Like the H1N1 FluMist nasal spray, the shot will be given to health care workers first. Any remaining doses probably will go to hospitalized patients. "We will begin giving (the shots) to our health care workers who provide direct patient care," said Kristi Gooden, spokeswoman for Baptist. "It is optional for our workers, but strongly encouraged." The Metro Nashville Health Department said it has not gotten injectable vaccine yet. The city health agency ordered about 130,000 doses. "That's encouraging news," said agency spokesman Brian Todd about the arrival of the shots at hospitals. "It seems like hospitals got the FluMist first and we got ours a few days later." Once enough doses are on hand, the agency plans to have clinics across the city at the department's headquarters, Hickory Hollow Mall, Hartman Park and the Nashville Fairgrounds. For now, the health department can give the FluMist nasal spray, which is restricted to healthy people, ages 2 to 49, who are not pregnant. The injectable version is approved for a wider range of ages and conditions. Few have gotten spray Uptake of the FluMist has been slow. At Baptist, only about 50 health care workers have taken advantage of the 200 nasal spray doses. At the health department, about 1,400 of its 4,900 doses had been given by the end of Wednesday. Theories about people's reluctance to get the mist include the notion that people want what they are used to, and for most that is the shot. Also, people could be concerned that the mist contains a live, weakened version of the H1N1 virus, though it has been shown to be safe. The Food and Drug Administration first ap-proved use of FluMist for seasonal influenza vaccines in 2003. Vaccines for the seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus are made the same way and are grown in eggs.

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