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Swine Flu Preparations in Full Swing

June 30th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

More than 900 people in Florida have been infected with swine flu, including two deaths. Nationwide the number stands at more than a million cases. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, Florida is making plans for a mass vaccination should the federal government decide it is necessary.

With Swine Flu in 100 countries and 900 cases confirmed here in Florida, the state health department is saying for the first time that it is gearing up should federal officials order mass immunizations.

It still hasnt been determined exactly how that will proceed, but were working very closely with all our partners at the national level to make sure that were all prepared and that were able to deploy whatever recommendations come down, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Ana Viamonte Ros said.

A mass immunization is far from certain. It could include cooperation from schools, hospitals, medical clinics, large employers and private doctors.

The most likely timetable for beginning mass vaccinations is either October or November.

A statewide plan for mass vaccinations has been in place since 2001. State health officials will spend the month of July fine-tuning the plan which is now more complex because a swine flu immunization will likely be not one, but two shots.

Theres going to be seasonal flu vaccines, and there may be the potential for H1N1 swine flu vaccine, Doc Kokol with the Florida Department of Health said. And we need to work out the details as to transportation and distribution of the vaccine.

Despite two deaths in Florida and 127 nationwide, most symptoms have been mild. Whether the plan for mass immunizations becomes operational will depend in part on what is happening in the rest of the world.

Officials continue to stress frequent hand washing, coughing into you arm, and staying home if you are sick as the best ways to prevent the H1N1 virus from spreading.

Posted in Health, State News | 5 Comments »

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