The war against the deadly swine flu is officially on.
On Monday, a shipload of H1N1 vaccines – thousands of doses in pre-filled sprayers – arrived in Indiana and Tennessee, where health care workers will be the first people inoculated, according to federal health authorities. The vaccines are the first of some 195 million doses the U.S. government has purchased from five vaccine manufacturers, according to Dr. Jay Butler of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number includes both spray and syringe forms.
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Butler, who heads the agency's 2009 H1N1 Vaccine Task Force, says that while the speed in administering inoculations is an issue, there will be enough vaccine to go around since manufacturers of the serum will ship 10 million to 20 million doses per week over the next couple of months.
"Is that fast enough?" he asked. "No, but it's what's feasible. It's what can be done."
Dr. Judy Monroe, Indiana's state health commissioner, told reporters at Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis that "I think the world has watched history unfold."
Since April, 60 children have died from the H1N1 virus, which is also known as swine flu, according to the CDC. About a dozen of those deaths were reported last week alone. Between Aug. 30 and Sept. 26, the CDC recorded 16,174 hospitalizations nationwide and 1,379 deaths associated with influenza virus infection.