ATLANTA — Orders for the first shipments of swine flu vaccine are rolling in, and federal health officials say the first doses should be given in some places early next week.
Twenty-five states and metro areas placed orders Wednesday — the first day they could. That's nearly half of the roughly 60 states, cities and territories that are eligible to place and direct swine flu vaccine orders for the public.
An estimated 6 million to 7 million doses of vaccine should be out next week, and they should include shots and the nasal spray form of the vaccine. But the first 600,000 doses, which should be available Tuesday, will all be nasal spray, said officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The nasal spray is not recommended for some of the people who are most in danger of complications from flu, including pregnant women and people with asthma. So "we believe that a lot of the states will be directing those early doses to health care workers," who are another priority group, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, who heads the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Schuchat said about 300,000 pediatric, liquid doses of the antiviral drug Tamiflu have been released from a national medicine stockpile to address a shortage.
According to the CDC, the states that placed orders Wednesday include Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.