Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391

Health Department H1N1 Vaccine Plan Highlighted by National News Coverage

The Marion County Health Department and Wishard Hospital gained national attention October 12 as Indianapolis received initial shipments of the H1N1 flu mist vaccine.

Media coverage converged on Wishard, which was selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be one of two national media destination sites to view the flu being administered. Memphis, TN was the other national host site.

"Today we begin executing a plan that has brought to light the talent, professionalism and hard work of public health at all levels and the cooperative spirit of our Indianapolis community," said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director, Marion County Health Department.

Dr. Caine joined representatives of the CDC, Governor Mitch Daniels, Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Monroe and Dr. Gino Alberto of Wishard during a press conference prior to Wishard emergency care personnel receiving the H1N1 vaccine.

Local, regional and national media quoted Dr. Caine in news reports, highlighting her straightforward, reassuring message about the H1N1 vaccine.

"This vaccine is safe. It is not experimental," said Dr. Caine as she held up the vaccine and its packaging.

"This vaccine was developed after our traditional, seasonal vaccine was already being manufactured," added Dr. Caine.

Local health officials are continuing to refine how the H1N1 vaccine will be distributed throughout Marion County.

Dr. Caine announced October 1 initial H1N1 flu mist vaccine would be given to Indianapolis hospitals for distribution to emergency room and critical care staff.

The CDC has not announced a timetable on the arrival of large quantities of vaccine. Until then, Marion County officials will continue to use available H1N1 vaccine in the most efficient manner possible.

Indianapolis residents with questions about the flu can contact the Marion County Health Department's Flu Helpline at 221-3366, refer to the health department Web site at www.mchd.com and watch Indianapolis City television channel WCTY-16 for updates.

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