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H1N1 flu vaccine dribbling into W.Va., Pa.

October 20, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH and MATTHEW UMSTEAD

TRI-STATE -- Shipments of the H1N1 flu vaccine have only been trickling into the Berkeley County Health Department, but administrator Bill Kearns said Tuesday they still have been able to vaccinate some emergency responders.

"We're getting it in small shipments," Kearns said. "Today, we received like 20 doses."

Roughly half of Berkeley County's population is considered at-risk for getting H1N1, but Kearns said priority groups, including health care workers, emergency response personnel, pregnant women, young children and young adults are in line to be treated first.

Kearns anticipates eventually scheduling visits to county schools to treat children there, during and after school.

In Pennsylvania, Summit Health, the parent organization of Chambersburg and Waynesboro hospitals, received a shipment of H1N1 influenza vaccine Tuesday afternoon, spokeswoman Karlee Brown said.

She said more information would be released today about how that vaccine will be distributed.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health initially distributed the FluMist version of the H1N1 vaccine, a nasal spray, to the southwest, southeast and north-central portions of the state. Those areas are experiencing the highest number of cases, according to a news release.

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Vaccine distribution is now statewide, spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman said.

"We are continuing to get vaccine allocated," she said, saying private providers make requests and receive shipments directly.

FluMist, one of four vaccines approved by the federal government, is not recommended for pregnant women, those younger than 2, people with underlying health conditions and health care workers who work with severely immune-suppressed individuals.

Those groups of people will benefit from other forms, like the preservative-free, single-dose syringes being ordered by OB/GYNs, Kriedeman said.

Some Pennsylvania school districts are receiving H1N1 vaccine, which will be administered to students.

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