Pregnant women have been told they are in a high risk group for the H1N1 virus and that they should be vaccinated.
Easier said than done.
36 year-old Estela Le of Westminster spent weeks searching for a doctor to give her the so-called “swine flu” vaccine. Finally, today, she and 300 other pregnant women got the vaccine at the Orange County Health Care Agency’s Santa Ana clinic.
Le, who is also asthmatic, worried that it will be tough for her to avoid the flu. “I don’t think it’s easy in my opinion,” she told NBC Los Angeles, “but this is important for me so I need to do it.”
Dr. Nancy Bowen of the O.C. Health Care Agency agreed. “We are up against a very tough challenge, “ she said, “ almost nobody has any immunity to this."
32 people have died from the H1N1 virus in Orange County. Eight were adults who died in one week. Experts say most were people who had underlining conditions such as cancer or diabetes. So far, 127 people with the virus have been sent to intensive care in O.C. hospitals.
In Los Angeles County, the death toll is up to 65 people with some 160 people in hospital ICU’s because of the disease.
The federal government is aware that the demand for the vaccine is outweighing the supply. So officials are focusing on getting the vaccine to high-risk groups –including health care workers, children under five and those up to 18 years of age with underlying illnesses.
There are warning signs to watch out for, according to Dr. Bowen, who listed them as “people who all of a sudden have trouble breathing, issues with consciousness, babies who turn blue. They need to go to the emergency room.”
Estela Le is expecting her second son two months from now. She told NBC Los Angeles she’s not concerned about the growing statistics. “I don’t think they’re high,” she said, “ but people are dying from this so if I can do something to prevent it from happening to my family, I will do that.”