MADISON (WKOW) -- The Food and Drug Administration approved new vaccines against the H1N1 swine flu Tuesday and Wisconsin health officials say they are prepared to administer the vaccine by mid-October.
September was a month filled with H1N1 cases, but thanks to the new vaccine, October could bring an end to the spread.
40 million doses of the vaccine will go out to clinics across the country. Health officials have not decided yet the number of doses for each city, but cities with more residents who have a high risk of contracting the virus will likely get a larger proportion.
The state health department says there will be twice as many vaccines available for the H1N1 virus than for the seasonal flu. But that doesn't mean everyone will be able to get the H1N1 shot right away.
"Initially there is going to be a limited supply of the vaccine," said Dr. Christopher Crnich, professor of infectious diseases at UW Hospital. "As a result we're going to have to be very rigorous in who we administer the vaccine to."
There are five categories of people who are at high risk of catching H1N1: pregnant women, parents with children who are younger than six months, health care workers, people under age 25, and people between the ages of 25 and 64 who have any pre-existing health conditions.
"These are the people who are most vulnerable to this particular virus," said Seth Boffeli of the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services. "So getting them the vaccine first both protects them and limits the spread of the virus to the community.
Doctors say other people who want to get the vaccine will have to wait four to six weeks until the next wave of the vaccine is available. The good news is, this flu shot should be free.
"If this vaccine is administered in a public clinic, there would be no charge to the patient," said Crnich. "If it was administered in, say, a pharmacy, there may be a small administrative fee, which may in fact be covered by insurance."
Healthy adults will only need one dose of the vaccine, according to tests run by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Health experts predicted earlier that two shots would be necessary, administered three weeks apart.