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Chaos in Clinics Over H1N1 Vaccine Shortage

Throughout the nation, concern over a possible H1N1 vaccine shortage is causing chaos at hospitals. Betty Ann Bower visits a clinic in Maryland for more.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Now the latest on the fight against the so-called swine flu and the demand for the vaccine — many people have been reluctant, even worried, about getting the H1N1 flu vaccine, but many more seem to be scrambling for the doses available right now.

    Betty Ann Bowser of our Health Unit watched that play out today at a clinic in Maryland. The Health Unit is a partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

  • MAN:

    Has it ever been this busy?

  • MAN:

    Never. Never. This is chaos.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    That pretty well summed up the situation outside a Montgomery County public health clinic in suburban Washington, as some 2,000 area residents lined up to get vaccinated against the H1N1 virus.

    It's a scene playing out across the country, demand outstripping supply. It was a particularly dramatic at this Rockville, Maryland, clinic today, as lines snaked around the building, through the parking lot, and down the block.

    Within minutes of opening its doors, health care officials let the crowd know that swine flu shots were going fast to the people most at risk: pregnant women, children under the age of 2, and people with underlying health conditions.

  • WOMAN:

    I am getting updates quicker about the injectable, because we are — you know, we're going through that fairly quickly. And I will continue to update you regarding the vaccine status.

  • MAN:

    Where's the next clinic, and when?

  • WOMAN:

    The next clinic will be determined when we get more vaccine. We cannot tell you where or when it is. We don't want to advertise something that we then would have to cancel.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    The county had over 3,000 doses of nasal mist for people 2 to 49 years of age, but only 249 doses of injectable swine flu vaccine, and more than half of that was gone before 10:00.

  • WOMAN:

    We have about 100 doses of injectable left.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    Chantelle and her husband, Matt Gastinger, had been patiently waiting in line for hours when they heard the news. But they were still hopeful she would make the cut.

    How long have you been here?

  • CHANTELLE GASTINGER:

    We have been here since 7:00.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    And they just announced there's 100 doses left.

  • CHANTELLE GASTINGER:

    Right.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    Are you concerned?

  • CHANTELLE GASTINGER:

    Yes. I think we are right on the borderline as to whether or not we're going to receive the vaccine.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    If you don't get it today, what are you going to do?

  • CHANTELLE GASTINGER:

    Probably just to wait to see if there's another clinic that we can get into.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    Are you worried about this?

  • MATT GASTINGER:

    We're a little concerned, but, you know, we wanted to get it just for the sake of the baby.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    Danielle DeWitt's baby was due three days ago, and her obstetrician doesn't have any vaccine.

    What are you going to do if you don't make it?

  • DANIELLE DEWITT:

    Just wait until after I have the baby, I guess, because I'm not sure when the next vaccine will be, because they don't know when the vaccine is going to arrive, they said. So…

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    Are you worried about this?

  • DANIELLE DEWITT:

    There's not much I can do about it.

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