Dr. Kim Mulvihill takes your questions on swine flu

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Health departments across Utah received the first shipments of the swine flu vaccine Monday, and officials are eager to start vaccinating. Dr. Kim Mulvihill answered your questions during an online chat and has this report.

The first doses of vaccine are the nasal spray type, which are an option only for healthy folks ages 2 to 49. So who qualifies?

  • Health care workers under 50
  • Children ages 2-24 with no medical conditions
  • Healthy adults living with or caring for infants or others in a high-risk group

But not everyone's ready to line up.

Jana Elmer told KSL, "My kids don't usually get very sick. They're pretty healthy, and so I don't plan on doing it."

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Scott McNally said, "I would probably consider getting it. I think my wife is thinking otherwise, so we're trying to decide about this little guy. We haven't totally figured it out yet."

Randy Beal said, "We feel like it's a pretty unnecessary procedure and especially with the swine flu, there's so many unanswered questions about it."

Those concerns were echoed during the online chat. Hot topics were pregnant women and children.

While no vaccine is 100 percent effective, it's our best weapon against swine flu, which to date has killed more than 4,000 people worldwide.

There is no reason to panic. The virus is spreading, but it has not become more deadly. Even so, The Salt Lake Valley Health Department says time is of the essence.

Gary Edwards, executive director of the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, said, "If the outbreak accelerates in Salt Lake County and we don't have much of the population immunized, then that's a large number out there that are susceptible to the illness."

If you have questions about the new H1N1 vaccine, we've assembled a panel of experts to help you: A pediatrician, representatives from the state health department and former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. You can also give your opinion with our poll questions.

[CLICK here to submit your question to be answered by our panel of experts]

E-mail: drkim@ksl.com

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