State approves high-risk inmates get priority over public with H1N1 shots - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/28/09

State approves high-risk inmates get priority over public with H1N1 shots

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - With limited H1N1 vaccines being distributed, high risk groups are getting the vaccines first, but what you might not know is that the high risk individuals include convicts.

Texas will be vaccinating thousands of inmates such as pregnant offenders and others who have medical conditions, making them more at risk of getting the flu.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says 45,000 convicts are considered part of that priority group. Correctional and medical staff working with the inmates will also get the vaccine. That includes 1,200 doses ordered for Texas Tech's medical staff that deals with most offenders located in West Texas.

A statement released on Wednesday afternoon from the Department of State Health Services says:

Texas has not allocated any H1N1 vaccine to prisons at this time. Prisoners are not a priority group to receive the vaccine and will not be vaccinated ahead of the general public. Given the limited national supply, Texas is initially targeting priority groups most at risk. Pregnant women are one of those groups. There are pregnant women who are incarcerated who need the vaccine to help protect their unborn children.

Health care providers who serve pregnant women in prisons have requested vaccine from the Texas Department of State Health Services. It is unclear when the state will be able to fill those orders given the limited national supply of the vaccine. Texas has been providing vaccine since the state first received allocations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month. A limited supply will be going to the prison system to vaccinate those most at risk.

Texas continues to order its full allocation of H1N1 vaccine, but the national supply still isn't adequate to meet demand. Texas plans to allocate more vaccine to other groups as it becomes more widely available. Texas had expected to receive 3.4 million doses of the vaccine by mid-October, according to the initial projections from the CDC. However, the state has been allocated less than 1.7 million doses so far."

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