MANATEE — Although the first batch of H1N1 vaccines didn’t make it to Manatee County on Friday, state officials say the health department here will likely get it after the weekend.
“No delivery yet, we’re just waiting,” Ronald Cox, Manatee County Health Department’s director of epidemiology, said Friday afternoon. “We’re told if we don’t get it in late this evening, we will probably get it Monday.”
Cox got that information from state health officials in Tallahassee. The county has ordered 1,700 vaccines, its full allotment.
This vaccine batch will be in the nasal mist form. Injectable doses are expected later, state health officials said.
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Manatee health department and school district officials will work together to distribute vaccines to students and staff members.
“We will meet with them to work out the dynamics of how it will be distributed,” Cox said. “Before a distribution plan is announced to the public, we want to make sure the vaccine is here.”
The 1,700 doses ordered for Manatee are not a lot, considering the school district has about 42,000 students — all on the state’s priority group list.
“Yes, it’s a small amount, but the expectation is they (future batches) will come in frequently enough to cover the high risk groups,” Cox said.
Although an official distribution plan has not been announced yet, Manatee County school district Superintendent Tim McGonegal said he does know parents will have to provide permission for their child to be vaccinated.
Health departments across the state began receiving the first shipments of the vaccine on Thursday. Jefferson County and St. Johns counties were the first two counties to receive their orders.
The state so far has ordered 100,000 doses of the nasal mist, recommended for people ages 2-49.
The vaccine shipments are being sent to county health departments, which are responsible for ensuring they go to providers to treat priority groups, including household caregivers for children younger than 6 months, health care providers, people 6 months to 24 years of age and those ages 25-64 with medical conditions.
Pregnant women are also on the priority group list, but doctors do not recommend they take the nasal mist vaccine because it contains a live virus.