High Priority Groups First to Receive H1N1 Vaccine

The H1N1 vaccine will start showing up in medical clinics in just a couple of weeks. But it won't immediately be available for everyone. Laurie Johnson has more.

There will be plenty of the swine flu vaccine eventually. But at first, only small shipments will be available.

The CDC recommends that certain groups have priority to receive the first batches of the vaccine.

Dr. Jeffrey Levin chairs the Texas Medical Association's Council on Public Health.

He says healthcare workers, children and young people under the age of 25, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses are the priority groups.

"You know we would urge people that if you're among these high priority groups as soon as the vaccine is available you really should make an effort to take advantage of it. And that's to protect yourself, as well as to help control the spread of the disease."

Levin says it's especially important for medical workers to be among the first to get the vaccine because hospitals will have the highest concentrations of the swine flu.

People who aren't in the high priority groups will have to wait a bit longer.

"It is a reflection of what is considered to be what is currently best medical or clinical practice and that means considering what the public health needs are and this is the response to what the current public health needs are."

The CDC says the vaccine will start arriving in clinics in mid-October. It will be shipped every couple of weeks after that until enough is manufactured for mass distribution.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...