Few H1N1 nasal spray vaccines administered - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Few H1N1 nasal spray vaccines administered

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Several thousand doses of the H1N1 nasal spray vaccine were distributed to county health departments around south Georgia this month, but few of them have been administered.

The Lowndes County Health Department has only given about 20 vaccines.

Health officials say it could be because people are simply staying home to recover when they're sick, or they may be worried about the safety of the new vaccine.

Three-year-old Grady Ring got his H1N1 nasal spray vaccine on Wednesday at the Lowndes County Health Department. He'll have to come in for a second dose in about 30 days like all other children nine and under.

"The second will actually build the antibodies that will protect them so they have to have two doses," said Pinckney McGhin, Nurse Manager. "If they don't come back for the second dose they will not be protected from the virus."

The health department received hundreds of doses of the nasal spray last week. Some of those went to other health care providers.

"At first, the state wanted us to focus on children ages two to four years old because that age group is most likely to spread the virus," said McGhin.

This week, the health department began offering the vaccine to other priority groups.

The Health Department has only given out 20 doses of the nasal spray. They expect more people will get vaccinated once the shots come in over the next few weeks.

Health officials say one reason people may be apprehensive is because the spray is a live virus and the shot is inactivated.

"They work exactly the same and are very effective," said McGhin.

Whatever vaccine method you prefer, it's important to protect yourself. I decided to go with the nasal spray.

"People that should get the nasal spray are people that are direct care givers like parents or guardians that care for children under six months of age," said Courtney Sheeley, South Health District Public Information Officer. "Six months and under cannot get the nasal spray or the shot."

Pregnant women cannot get the spray form of the vaccine but they are urged to get the shot when it arrives. Both vaccines are free at your local health department.

The H1N1 vaccine will not protect you from seasonal flu. You must get a separate regular flu vaccination.

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