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State Has Hotline for Public's Questions about H1N1 Flu

Today, Gov. Steve Beshear announced the state now has a telephone hotline for people with questions about the H1N1 flu. WFPL's Elizabeth Kramer has more.Within its first hour of operation Monday, 10 people had called the hotline, which the public can call and talk to a live person.The number is 877-843-7727.William Hacker is the commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. He says most questions concern what priority groups should get the vaccine and when it will be available.Hacker also says the four recent deaths in Kentucky from the H1N1 flu did not indicate any changes in the virus."The fact that we've had these deaths does not indicate a change of virulence," Hacker says. "It's simply the fact that as we have more cases, some individuals will have a rougher course than others and this is just a typical outcome for flu."Hacker says health care workers are the first group recommended to get vaccinated. There are nearly 150,000 health care workers statewide.Hacker says priority groups will get doses from the first shipments of vaccines from the federal government. He says those shipments are imminent."We anticipate some vaccine coming into Kentucky as early as Monday and Tuesday," he says. "Early shipments of vaccines are targeted towards health care professionals to give them the vaccine so they will be healthy and able to take care of individuals who do become ill."The hotline was funded with federal dollars. The department plans to operate the hotline through December, but could extend the date based on public demand.The Kentucky Department of Health's website on H1N1 flu