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Shortage of H1N1 flu vaccine appears to be easing in California

A few counties have begun offering inoculations to the public, health officials say.

December 11, 2009|By Rong-Gong Lin II

The shortage of H1N1 flu vaccine appears to be easing in California, prompting a few counties to begin offering inoculations to the public, health officials said Thursday.

Ventura and Sacramento counties now have no limitations on who can receive the vaccination for H1N1, also known as the swine flu. Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties are still reserving their vaccine for children, young adults, pregnant women and the chronically ill, among other priority groups. But officials indicated that, for the most part, the vaccine shortage has eased.

In Long Beach, turnout was disappointing on Saturday, when officials held the city's last mass vaccination clinic at City Hall, said Michael Johnson, a spokesman for the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services.

"There are no more long lines," said Sheila Murphy, spokeswoman for the Ventura County Health Care Agency, which opened up its vaccine supply to all county residents this week. "It was the right time to open it up to everyone."

Sacramento County is able to vaccinate 2,000 people in four hours in a mass clinic, so when demand began falling below the county's capacity to inoculate, the county decided to open the clinics to everyone else after Thanksgiving once it received permission from the state, said Dr. Glennah Trochet, health officer for Sacramento County.

Other areas, however, are still reporting heavy demand. In Pasadena, a health officer said there are still patients in the priority groups who can't find the vaccine.

ron.lin@latimes.com

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