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H1N1 Vaccine Update

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

The Centers for Disease Control say 22 million Americans have now caught the H1N1 flu and almost 4,000 have died from it.

That number includes 540 children killed by the flu.

But they say those numbers, can be misleading.

Officials say the higher numbers do not mean the epidemic is getting worse, it's just a more accurate count of what's really been happening.

Also on Friday, there's a new warning about the virus.

The H1N1 vaccine is still in short supply nationwide, but more is on the way.

"We have 41.6 doses of the influenza vaccine that are available for the states to order. 41.6 million is more than we had before but it's not as much as we'd hope to have by today,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat the Director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Long lines are a common sight at many health clinics across the country but not here in the wiregrass.

"As the supply increases we do think that access and convenience and ease of getting vaccinated will improve."

Health officials say the amount of time it takes to get the vaccine to citizens varies state to state.

"It may take longer in some areas than others but a reminder that all of the states are receiving an amount of vaccine that's proportionate to their population," said Dr. Schuchat

Friday, the Centers for Disease Control also added a new group to the list of people deemed at risk.

"People with diabetes have an increased risk of severe illness with any flu and when people with diabetes get flu it may be more difficult to manage their blood sugar,” said Dr. Schuchat

People suffering from diabetes are making up a good chunk of those hospitalized with H1N1.

"People with diabetes account for about 12% of all hospitalizations we've seen from the virus"

"If we focus in on adults 19% of those who have been hospitalized have diabetes, so this can be a very severe illness for people with diabetes."

The H1N1 virus may have killed almost 4,000 people this year, but it's important to point out that the seasonal flu kills about 36,000 people in the U.S. each year.

It seems only a fraction of Americans have been vaccinated against H1N1.

According to CBS news, in a new poll just 6% of adults surveyed have been given the shot.

Here in Houston County, the health department has administered about 1,700 vaccine shots.

They say they expect to have more next week, but they aren't sure when that shipment will arrive.


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