White boxes with doses of the H1N1 vaccine finally arrived at the Dallas County Health Department. It's what health care workers had been waiting for, but there are two problems.
The first delivery, 700 doses, is a drop in the bucket of the 25, 000 doses the department ordered, and, it's the nasal mist variety, which means the people who need it the most, those with underlying health issues and pregnant women can't take it. Health Department Director Zachary Thompson says he'll take what he can get until he gets what he wants.
"Clearly that's not enough vaccine to talk about mass vaccination clinics." Says Thompson.
Health Department Medical Director Dr. John Carlo says the shipment is earmarked for first responders, people like doctors and nurses who are part of the public health safety net.
"Our process and planning is to make sure that we have first responders ready to give vaccines out when more vaccines become available." Says Dr. Carlo.
When that is, is anyone's guess. Dr. Don Dillahunty is one of more than 1,100 Dallas doctors and clinics still waiting for delivery. Dr. Dillahunty is expecting 2,500 injectable doses. He says his PrimaCare Clinic locations are averaging a hundred calls a day from people wanting to know when, where and how they can get the vaccine.
"Hopefully though it will be sooner rather than later. Says Dr. Dillahunty. "We are right in the middle of the flu epidemic right now and i know a lot of people would benefit from the vaccine if we could just get it."
Lisa Teshner believes she's sick with the flu right now and says a vaccine would have been handy, weeks ago.
"Well, particularly starting a new job. I just would rather not be here at all and I don't understand the process, but I don't understand why it's taken so long to get here."
For now, Dallas will have to settle for 700 doses, which Dr. Carlo says won't last long.
"The major goal of this is to not have any vaccine sitting, we will move it as soon as we get it." Says Dr. Carlo.
The news of the smaller than expected delivery comes after two H1N1 related deaths this weekend.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times