ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Hunting down the H1N1 swine flu vaccine is becoming asinfectious as the virus as New Mexicans bombard doctor’soffices with phone calls particularly from pregnant women andworried parents of young children.
The first shipment of 14,000 doses of nasal and injectablevaccine is being apportioned among the state's 33 counties,according to the New Mexico Department of Health . More than 1million doses are expected here by the end of January.
But for now finding the vaccine has not been easy.
A few places in Albuquerque have it although you probably won'tget them unless you're already in the hospital.
OB-GYN Tim Hurley said his patient count is in the hundreds withat least 90 percent very eager to get the shot. He gets asked whenhis office will get the vaccine everyday.
“This year is kind of, 'Where do I get it? When can I getit? How can I get it?'” Hurley said. The state’s methodof telling people to call providers is not working, he added.
“It's not a solution for me because I don't have anyanswers for them because the health department hasn't provided anyvery specific information on when I can expect to get the fluvaccine that we requested,” Hurley said.
Hurley also said most doctors he knows are in the samesituation.
According to the DOH, Bernalillo County has received more than15,000 doses so far.
“They haven't really told us much of anything other thanthey got our request and we're in the system,” Hurley said."That's all we know."
It’s the same story at every Bernalillo County PublicHealth office. Not one is offering the H1N1 shot yet.
Some Albuquerque hospitals received their second shipment thisweek. However University of New Mexico Hospital's 200 shots weregiven to the infant care clinic and maternity ward.
Presbyterian’s 500 shots will go to priority patients inthe hospital and to hospital workers. Lovelace Health officialssaid they haven't gotten a single dose.
Hurley said he is worried the vaccine is taking too long toreach enough patients to be effective.
“We're already getting a lot of phone calls of patientswho have flu symptoms,” Hurley said.
For now all he can do is to sit and wait.
KRQE News 13 did one Public Health Office in Albuquerque hassmall amount of nasal spray left for young children. Pregnant womenand children with serious health problems can only take the shot,not the nasal spray.
The DOH told News 13 it has sent the vaccine to more than 600doctor's offices and hospitals and that there is no way to providea list of all of them to the public.
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