Lufkin doctor has hundreds of free H1N1 shots

By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Thousands of doses of this H1N1 vaccine are in East Texas and Dr. Alexander Orlov has had hundreds of them for weeks.

"I think we were one of the first people in Lufkin to get a large supply of the vaccination and at the moment, we still have about 400 doses left," Orlov said.

The Angelina County and Cities Health District says there's a reason Orlov may have received his early.

"His risk groups, the priority groups that have been determined by the Centers for Disease Control and other health agencies, he has a high proportion of those," Jon Hill with CDC said. "So, that's why he would've received his and others would not."

But, even with the shelf life of about a year, not everyone has jumped at the opportunity to get a shot of this yet.

"I'm pretty sure we'll go through those pretty rapidly," Orlov said. "As I said, the flu hasn't peaked yet.  We expect it to peak sometime probably in the middle of the winter."

Orlov offers the vaccine itself for free, but he tells his patients to make sure they are informed before they make a decision.

"I tell them to read all of the side effects and I tell them to really understand and give very informed consent and you really need to know what the potential side effects are," Orlov said.

"There's certainly some hesitation by the public, but I can assure you that it's made the same way as the seasonal flu vaccine that has been given to over 100 million people per year," Hill said.

Meanwhile, Hill says the health district has seen a rise in the incidents of infection and they expect it to continue well into when the seasonal flu normally ends around May.

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