A national campaign to inoculate tens of millions of Americans against H1N1 influenza began Monday, with health care workers in Indiana and Tennessee targeted as the first recipients, federal health authorities said.
"I think the world has watched history unfold," Dr. Judy Monroe, Indiana's state health commissioner, told reporters at Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis.
Earlier Monday, the hospital received a shipment of 52 boxes - each containing 100 pre-filled sprayers.
"This first 5,200 doses that came to Marion County is really just the tip of the iceberg," Monroe said.
Health Director Virginia Caine said the shipment will be split among the county's hospitals.
A similar scene unfolded at LeBonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee, where three children have died from H1N1, sometimes referred to as swine flu.
Jennilyn Utkov, a spokeswoman for LeBonheur, said the hospital received about 100 doses. By noon, the supply had been depleted.
The vaccines shipped to both sites and to a few other places around the nation are the first of some 195 million doses the U.S. government has purchased from five vaccine manufacturers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Dr. Jay Butler told reporters at the Indianapolis event. That number includes both spray and injectable forms.
Butler, who heads the agency's 2009 H1N1 Vaccine Task Force, has promised there will be enough for anyone who wants it.
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Filed under: H1N1
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