State doctors expect swine flu spike in Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State doctors expect swine flu spike in Hawaii

Larissa Halemanu Larissa Halemanu
Dr. Sarah Park Dr. Sarah Park
Dr. Chiyome Fukino Dr. Chiyome Fukino

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HAWAIINEWSNOW) - Doctors at the state Department of Health say it's not if, but when the swine flu will spike here in Hawaii, which is why they are encouraging at risk people to get vaccinated. The state says 104,000 doses of the swine flu vaccine will be in Hawaii within two weeks.

Brayden Halemanu is a bouncing baby boy who already got his seasonal flu shot.

"I just thought it was important to get it because they could get real sick from it," said Larissa Halemanu, Brayden's Mom.

Halemanu plans to get him get the swine flu shot but his doctor didn't have it yet.

State doctors say others should follow Brayden's lead and get vaccinated.

"We've had more pediatric deaths on the mainland reported related to flu disease in the last few months than we usually see in a year," said Dr. Sarah Park, State Epidemiologist. "Right now the trend line has been bumping around at the baseline level but it looks like it will rise very shortly."

Hawaii represents .42 percent of the nation's population so it will get .42 percent of the swine flu vaccines. High priority people should get it first. They include kids six months to 24 years old, pregnant women, people with chronic illness that weakens the immune system and healthcare workers.

"Right now what we are doing is prioritizing the vaccine we do receive but over time there should be sufficient vaccine for everyone who wants to have an H1N1 vaccine," said Dr. Chiyome Fukino, State Department of Health Director.

They even say you can get both shots in the same doctor visit but not if you get the nasal injections. Those have to spread out by four weeks.

Some parents are opting out completely.

"The swine flu one I don't feel like it's had enough time for testing to know if it's safe. The thimerosal, is a big one for me," Tracy Falconer said as she held her two year old daughter Reese.

Thimerosal is a preservative some believe can lead to other problems, like autism.

"I think if they could come up with a real safe vaccine I would be all for it, but I don't think you can say for sure that it is safe," said Falconer.

"Pregnant moms, kids, should not feel reluctant to get vaccine right now even if it has thimerosal," said Dr. Park.

"There is no documented evidence that the amounts of thimerosal in vaccines causes any significant adverse affects," said Dr. Fukino.

If that's still not enough reassurance there will be thimerosal free vaccinations but they won't be in Hawaii for a little while. As always ask your doctor for more information.

The state is also vaccinating at more than 300 schools but they remind parent's consent forms must be turned in this week.

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