After months of waiting, California counties are beginning to receive shipments of an H1N1 vaccine that is being touted to “limit damage.”

Clinics and small private practices in Los Angeles County will begin to combat the H1N1 virus with FluMist nasal spray as soon as today, said Robert Perkins with the Los Angeles County Health Department. 

The FluMist nasal spray vaccine has not been approved for everyone, but the county encourages those who can receive this form of the vaccine to get it.

School-aged children should receive the vaccine as flu season inches closer and closer.

“We had expected to see an increase in flu cases once the school year started, and those predictions have come true. Most cases of the pandemic H1N1 flu continue to present mild to moderate symptoms, but some individuals have had serious complications,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health and Health Officer.

The H1N1 vaccine injections contain the “killed” virus, which can be given to all those in the priority groups for the H1N1 vaccine. These doses are expected to arrive later this month.

Residents of Los Angeles County who do not fall into these priority groups will be able to get the H1N1 vaccine later this fall.

“It is vital that residents of Los Angeles County do everything they can to protect their health and the health of their loved ones and community. This is best done through getting vaccinated against the flu, and practicing good, basic hygiene,” said Dr. Fielding.

For more information on H1N1, priority groups and public health in Los Angeles County, visit the website,

Public Health Officer in Sacramento County, Glennah Trochet MD, said the vaccine is in short supply and doctors’ practices will receive the vaccine first.

“The vaccine is the most effective way to decrease illness and death,” said Trochet.

According to Sacramento County’s weekly report, 182 in the county have been diagnosed with H1N1.

Dr. Trochet believes the H1N1 vaccine will be just as effective as the general flu shot in preventing illness.

San Bernardino County Public Health Officer Maxwell Ohikhuare has stressed to residents to be cautious of the H1N1 virus with the winter months approaching.

The county has reported 234 cases of H1N1 and received 4,100 doses of FluMist nasal spray just two hours previously, Ohikhuare said.

“The Centers for Disease Control responded quite well developing this vaccine so quickly,” Ohikhuare said.

Louis Dettorre can be reached at