The first doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine have arrived in Dallas County, but the first batch is just a fraction of the 20,000 courses requested by the county.
The Dallas CountyHealth and Human Services received 700 doses of the swine flu nasal spray vaccine Monday morning.
"Clearly we were expecting more vaccine in Dallas County and throughout the nation," said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director.
Doctors, nurses and other health professionals will get vaccinated beginning this week. The health professionals need to be protected first so they can safely administer future doses of the vaccine to others, the health department said.
"Right now, we're looking on the 700 really focusing on the health care workers -- our public health staff, the front line nursing physicians who are going to be responding to the H1N1 outbreak," Thompson said.
DCHHS said the vaccine is expected to "trickle in week to week."
The county still hopes to receive thousands more doses of the vaccine mist before the injectable vaccine begins to arrive in much larger numbers.
"I think we're going to need a lot more based on the outbreaks, the number of deaths we've had in Dallas County," said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director.
Seven people have now died from the H1N1 flu in Dallas County. The most recent deaths were two women, a 25-year-old mother from Lancaster and a 35-year-old Dallas County resident. Both had underlying health problems.
When there's enough doses for the general public, the county plans to open vaccination clinics throughout Dallas County to accommodate those who need it most.
"We don't know how much vaccine we're getting, so you don't know if you need one venue, three venues or how many areas you need to set up," Thompson said.
Tarrant County Public Health said it also received limited doses of the nasal spray vaccine. Plans on how to distribute the doses that arrived in the first shipment were not yet finalized, the department said Monday.