CDC Gearing Up for H1N1

With kids soon heading back to school, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is meeting in Atlanta, Ga. Monday and Tuesday to discuss the status of the H1N1 virus.

Among the topics sure to be discussed, CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton reported on "The Early Show" Monday, is the status of the H1N1 vaccine and how it will be distributed.

Ashton, reporting from the CDC's headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., said as the federal government prepares their H1N1 guidelines, state and local government are also preparing their own plans for dealing with the virus this fall.

At Boston Medical Center, Ashton said emergency medical workers are now training to administer H1N1 vaccinations.

However, as state and local government await federal guidance on distributing an H1N1 vaccine, Ashton said government health officials are preparing for a serious outbreak.

Dr. Martin Blaser, chairman of the Department of Medicine at New York University, told CBS News, "I think this country is really gearing up for a major vaccine campaign this fall. ... I think if we are trying to vaccinate everybody, there are going to be logistical difficulties."

The CDC says 195 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine are expected by the end of the year, but each patient will likely need two doses.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said H1N1 vaccinations are going to be slightly more complicated.

She said, "Folks need to get two doses in order for it to be effective, and they need to wait 21 days in between those doses."

The first batch of H1N1 vaccinations will not be distributed until mid-October at the earliest, Ashton reported. Health care workers on the front lines are among those first in line to be vaccinated.

So what kinds of plans are in place to anticipate H1N1 this fall?

David Masini, vice president of Administration at St. Luke's - Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York said staffing plans, including extended hours and recalling staff, are among the hospital's flu preparations.

Ashton said hospitals say they have back-up plans to house extra patients, such as using different areas of their buildings and other hospitals.

People having chest pains, Ashton said, should go to the emergency room. But, if you have flu symptoms, she said, the emergency room should be used only for emergencies.

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