Swine flu in Alabama

By Stephen Gallien - email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) - The first batch of vaccine for the H1N1 Influenza, now blamed for 15 deaths in Alabama, won't arrive until next week.

The State Health Department expects only 26,500 doses to be delivered sometime next week.

"Even then, it's not going to be available in any large quantity and most people won't be able to access the vaccine," said Don Williamson, State Health Officer.

More vaccine will be delivered from the four manufacturers approved to make the Swine Flu vaccine in the coming weeks with up to 250,000 doses possible by the last week in October.

Doctors and other health providers are lining up to get the vaccine.  More than 500 physicians have already placed orders with the state health department for more than one million doses of Swine Flu vaccine.

Questions about vaccinations have dominated a new hotline the health department set up this week.  More than 300 calls came in the first day the influenza information hotline started operating on September 28th.  Since then, the hotline has averaged fielding 100 calls a day.  The hotline at 877-377-7285 can be reached 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday for information and referrals.

The H1N1 virus is now blamed for 11 deaths in 10 Alabama counties. Three of the deaths were reported in North Alabama, with the victims ranging in age from 11 to a woman in 70's.  Two of the deaths involved Jackson County residents.  A Madison County woman in her 50's was the other North Alabama fatality.

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