Colorado woman dies from Swine Flu

By: Joe Gagnon Email
By: Joe Gagnon Email

Health officials say an El Paso County woman has died of Swine Flu.

Our sister station in Denver is reporting Deborah Burton died on Tuesday at a Colorado Springs hospital.

This marks the first death in Colorado from the virus.

And now there is concern about getting students safe and prepared for school this year even though there are no vaccines available just yet.

Wednesday, the federal government admitted they won't be ready for the start of school season - and when it is ready, there won't be enough for everybody.

But the CDC did decide who will get the vaccine first when it becomes available.

One hundred seventy one.

The number of people infected with the H1N1 flu virus statewide and Wednesday, the first victim dies.

The Center for Disease Control gave their latest report on when the Swine Flu vaccine is expected to be distributed Wednesday and listed who will get it.

But the vaccine not being available now could be a bigger threat as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned. “We will not have a vaccine available before the school year starts,” she says.

Kristy Emerson of the Mesa County Department of Health and Human Services says that can be worrisome because school can be a place where germs are easily spread.

“We don't want sick kids passing their germs to others,” she says.

Before you send your kids off to school Emerson says parents should have a plan, if they do happen to get any kind of sickness.

“Make sure the kids have an aunt or an uncle's house to go to in case you can't leave work,” she advises. “We want to encourage parents to take the same precautions you would during regular flu season.”

The vaccine is now being manufactured and is on track to get the first doses out by October.

That's why a committee of experts met Wednesday at the CDC, to set a list of priorities for who should get a vaccine first when it is available.

Right now, the list includes pregnant women, because of the risk of complications, as well as household contacts and caregivers for children younger than six months, healthcare and emergency medical care workers, people age six months through 24 years because the virus strikes mostly young people, and adults with underlying health conditions such as asthma, other lung problems, heart disease, and diabetes.

Of course, health officials stressed that the list of those with top priority could change once they find out exactly how many vaccines will be made.

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