"I am a pediatrician in suburban Cook County. We signed up to receive the vaccine, and have yet to get it. I hear it is going to go to local pharmacies before we get it. They only vaccinate children 9 and above. ... Who is going to ensure that infants and asthmatics get vaccinated?"The response from the Illionois Department of Public Health's spokeswoman Kelly Jakubek was telling:
"We currently are only placing orders for hospitals and health departments, which we consider the front line of health care," she said.It is difficult to know whether Dr. Morita bases her decision on places that have a high incidence of the disease (the frequency of development of a new illness in a population in a certain period of time), or a high prevalence (current number of people suffering from an illness in a given period of time). Pediatricians offices might have a high incidence, but very low prevalence, of flu relative to large chains stores, and if prevalence is what matters to the health department (and politically this would seem so), then pediatricians might be last in line for the shots.
Chicago vaccine providers are under a similar system in which the first shipments go to places that serve the most at risk, said Dr. Julie Morita, medical director of the Chicago Department of Public Health. Her department places the orders and selects the providers to get the first H1N1 vaccine shipments.
"Our priority is to get the early vaccine to high-risk providers," Morita said, "and once the majority have gotten vaccinated, then it can go to retail providers. We can't guarantee a limitless supply, so there may be breaks in supplies for a time, and then get orders filled later on."