By Megan Moore
Amarillo, Texas - The public health authority has sent out a health alert to local doctors' offices detailing the prevalence of H1N1 flu in the area. Doctors say they see a rising number of people filtering into their offices with flu-like symptoms. If they have the type A strain of the flu, it often is the H1N1 flu. There is no finite number of cases in the area.
H1N1 flu season is here but its vaccine is not. And once it gets here, some will have to wait a while before they can get it.
The first shipment of the vaccine should be here soon, but it is not the one for those who are highest on the priority list: pregnant women and health care workers.
With a public health advisory sent out to doctors this week detailing how prevalent the H1N1 virus is here in the Panhandle, the need for the vaccine is dire.
Amarillo Urgent Care Physician Assistant John Adams says, "it's concerning that we're seeing positive flus this early in the season because we see with normal human flu from December probably through about April and in this part of the country it has usually been later."
On top of that, it will still take at least a week or two to get the H1N1 vaccine.
Bi-County Public Health Authority Dr. Todd Bell says, "the first shipment is mainly going to be the nasal spray. It's specifically for healthy people between the ages of two and 49. It's not something for use in pregnant women or health care workers."
Those are the ones who many say are the most at risk.
Dr. Bell says, "it's not until those injectables are available, which may be several weeks later that we'll be able to start vaccinating some of those folks who we think are important, those pregnant women or health care workers."
He also says enough of the vaccine has been ordered to cover both Potter and Randall counties, and then some.