Slow Rollout May Push Swine Flu Vaccinations to November

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    Dallas County says it won't receive more doses of the swine flu vaccine until November.

    The federal government is forcing Dallas County health officials to play the waiting game for swine-flu vaccine.

    Dallas County health officials are eager to start administering doses of the H1N1 vaccine, but learned Tuesday that the county won't receive more until November.

    "Our plan was to set up clinics throughout Dallas County to be able to do mass vaccination clinics," said Zachary Thompson, Health and Human Services director. "Now we're talking about doing clinics in November. How effective is that going to be in terms of H1N1 outbreaks that we're seeing?"

    Thompson said the government gave him no reason as to why the doses were delayed or a solid date of when the doses would arrive.

    The county's initial 700 doses of the vaccine were in mist form and were not enough to vaccinate the most vulnerable, which included children and first responders. The county used the shipment of the nasal spray vaccine, which arrived last week, to vaccinate doctors, nurses and other health care workers.

    Thompson said he was hoping to vaccinate the rest of the first responders and pregnant women with the future shipments.  

    "To me, that wasn't enough, to really talk about doing a mass clinic operation, of course, with only 700 doses," he said.

    Thompson expects the number of swine flu cases in Dallas County to rise with the delay. He also said the county could run out of seasonal-flu vaccines by November, which could case more problems.

    "This is really a bad situation from the standpoint that, it shouldn't happen this way," Thompson said.

    The Tarrant County Health Department will check on the status of its doses Wednesday.

    Doctors say most of the H1N1 cases that require hospitalization have an underlying risk factor. The biggest risk factor doctors have noticed so far is asthma, with 26 percent of adult cases that require hospitalization are also asthmatic.

    The Centers for Disease Control recommends that anyone with flu-like symptoms and breathing troubles should see a doctor.