Swine flu vaccines arrive, more on way

The promised H1N1 vaccines have arrived in San Francisco – six weeks late, according to the San Francisco Department of Health.

As of last week, The City had received 100,000 vaccine doses to combat the fast-spreading flu virus, said Eileen Shields, DPH spokeswoman.

The City had expected a shipment in that amount in mid-October, and around 30,000 each week thereafter. Delays in production and distribution held them up, officials said.

The federal government is providing the vaccines to states, which are tasked with distributing them to localities.

The City’s 100,000 doses have already been distributed to private clinicians, hospitals, the fire and police departments and the Department of Public Health, Shields said.

Another 35,000 doses are expected over the next 20 days, she said.

Some of those doses will go to “internal medicine providers and pediatricians who have not yet received any H1N1 vaccine,” Shields said.

Another 16,000 will be administered at a mass vaccination clinic on Dec. 22 at the Bill Graham Auditorium, she said.

The City is searching for volunteers, either with clinical and non-clinical skills, to help in that effort, she said.

Volunteers can visit here http://www.sfcdcp.org/volunteerflu.html for details.

More shipments are expected beyond those 35,000 extra doses, but The City doesn’t yet know when, Shields said.

The City needs up to 180,000 doses to cover all San Franciscans who are at high risk of contracting swine flu, health officials said.

'At-risk groups include pregnant women, anyone from 6 months to 24 years of age, health care and emergency responders, and adults between 25 and 64 with medical conditions that put them at risk for life-threatening illnesses.

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