Monday, August 3, 2009

Utah prepares for swine flu vaccinations:

July 30th, 2009 @ 4:30pm  By Marc Giauque

SALT LAKE CITY -- It could be mid-October before the first Utahns get swine flu vaccinations. State and local health departments are working on details for how those vaccinations will be administered.

Health officials say they'll follow recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to give priority to school-age children, pregnant women and health care workers. But they're not sure, just yet, how it will all happen.

"It's a moving target," said Tom Hudachko, spokesman for the Utah Department of Health. He says the CDC is yet to finalize its guidelines.

It's also unclear what kind of demand there will be for the vaccine, which to this point has not been fully tested for effectiveness. But Hudachko says there has been a lot of interest from people who've enlisted in clinical trials.

"There's been tremendous demand. So if that's any indicator, we could very well see a lot of people who do, in fact, line up to get this vaccination," Hudachko said.

Salt Lake Valley Health Department spokeswoman Pamela Davenport says her department may involve schools in the vaccination process, since school-age children have been identified as one of the higher-risk groups. But she too says plans have not been finalized.

Hudachko believes the vaccine should be ready for distribution by mid October. He says it shouldn't be confused with the seasonal flu shot, which will also be available this fall.

Seasonal flu viruses typically impact the very young, the elderly and pregnant women more harshly.

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