H1N1 vaccine approved, DHEC awaits guidance

The Food and Drug Administration today approved the new H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine¬† and now steps are being taken to get vaccinations under way next month in South Carolina. ¬†The federal government announcement of the vaccine’s approval was made to Congress by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who said the bulk of vaccine will start arriving October 15th and should be available at 90,000 sites around the country.
FDA licensure means that the government has certified the vaccine is made properly and meets specific manufacturing and quality standards. The National Institutes of Health is studying the vaccine dosage and safety. It appears that one dose will protect adults and that the protection kicks in eight to 10 days after the shot is taken.
SC DHEC spokesman Jim Beasley says this is an important step.”However, we are still awaiting guidance and information from the CDC on when the vaccine will be shipped to South Carolina and when it will be administered.
That includes information on how it will be administered. “They have been conducting the clinical trials and they can advise us on whether it will take one shot or two,” says Beasley.
He says DHEC still expects the vaccine to arrive in the state by mid-October and be made available through a network or health care providers soon after.
He reiterates that citizens must talk with their health care providers about when they can actually get vaccinated, because there are target populations who get the shots first: pregnant women, young people 6 months up to 24-years-old, and health care workers.

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