H1N1 vaccine: Who will get it first - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

H1N1 vaccine: Who will get it first

MADISON (WKOW) -- About 214,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine were shipped to Wisconsin this month.

Right now, hospitals and clinics are giving those vaccines to health care workers only. The supply for the public hasn't arrived yet.

For John Loeffelholtz, 41, the vaccine can't come soon enough.

"I have arthritic pain, and it's affected some of my organs at various time," he said. "I've had liver problems, about a year ago I developed heart problems."

Loeffelholtz has an autoimmune problem and takes immuno-suppressant drugs, putting him at high risk of infection.

"I'm worried about getting H1N1, developing more serious complications, and ending up in the hospital."

But when it comes to vaccination priorities, he may not be at the top of the list.

Hospitals and clinics in the Madison area (including St. Mary's Hospital, Meriter Hospital, Dean Health, and UW Health) say, when their supply arrives, they'll follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines -- vaccinating health care employees first, and then pregnant women.

The CDC also recommends the H1N1 vaccine for young people up to age 24, and people aged 25 - 64, who have health problems.

That's about 159 million Americans -- with a supply that's trickling in.

For now, John Loeffelholtz will have to be germ vigilant.

"I thought about the keyboard I was using, the mouse I was using, who was there in front of me," he said. "I'm more cautious about this now, if I'm sick, I'm going to stay home today, and hopefully put everyone else at less risk."

Thursday afternoon, Meriter Hospital got permission from the state department of health to vaccinate pregnant women at high risk of medical problems.

Meriter is using a small percentage of its injectable vaccine, which is being used to immunize employees.

The CDC says anyone who had H1N1 earlier this year is probably immune and does not need to be vaccinated.

E-mail Jeff Angileri -- jangileri@wkowtv.com

CDC H1N1 Flu Guidelines

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