Plans set for St. Louis County’s initial swine flu vaccine supply

ST. LOUIS | The first 100,000 batches of swine flu vaccine will be distributed in St. Louis County at the end of October, the county’s Health Director, Dr. Dolores Gunn, said Tuesday.

Gunn said emergency personnel and health care providers would get the first doses, followed by pregnant women and people under the age of 24. Any doses left from the original batch would then be distributed to the public at large.

Gunn said that after the initial stock is depleted, the federal government would continue to supply about 25,000 doses each week to meet demand.

“Ultimately, we have been assured that there will be enough doses so that everyone in the county who wants the vaccine will get it,” Gunn said Tuesday afternoon at a caucus meeting of the County Council.

Gunn said the federal government has pledged to give the county $3 million over the next three years for the vaccinations, but that it was not clear when the money would arrive.

In the meantime, Gunn has asked the council for permission to withdraw $450,000 from the health department’s emergency appropriations fund to pay for the inoculations.

Gunn said pregnant women and children are particularly susceptible to swine flu.

Clinical trials to test the vaccine’s short-term safety and effectiveness are currently under way at St. Louis University and seven other sites in the United States. The government expects to have about 160 million doses available this fall if the Food and Drug Administration gives final approval, which is expected.

Typically, someone who is immunized against a flu virus either will not catch it or get a milder case.