Doctors Offices Swamped With H1N1 Vaccine Calls

Vaccines For High-Priority Groups Expected In Mid-October

The H1N1 flu vaccine isn't available to the general public, but people are already calling their doctors eager to get in line.

At the St. Vincent Pediatric Center, staff members said they've taken dozens of calls from people who want to get vaccinated, 6News' Stacia Matthews reported.

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"There's a lot of anxiety about the H1N1 virus right now, and we're trying to educate families as best we can," said Dr. Sheila Stewart-Whack.

Despite a rush in production, deliveries of the vaccine are lagging behind orders. State health officials said they anticipate doctor's offices will get shipments later this month.

Nicole Bennett brought her six-month-old son, Gabriel, to the clinic Tuesday for a check-up to get booster shots and his first seasonal flu shot. She said she had hoped he could get the H1N1 vaccine too because he's on the priority list.

"I've heard H1N1 is really, really bad, and I know some people who've already been sick from it, and one that has died," she said. "I couldn't stand to lose my little one."

The first shipments of the vaccine available to non-medical personnel are expected to be available in mid-October.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Monroe said initial shipments are intended for those most at-risk, including pregnant women, people from age 6 months to 24, people who live with or care for children under 6 months old, people age 25-64 with chronic health conditions and health care providers.

Pregnant women will not be given the nasal mist and must wait for the injected vaccine.

The State Department of Health has also set up a flu hot line that will serve as a place to find out where the vaccine will be available. The number is 877-826-0011. It's open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.