Students at 125 elementary schools got the swine flu vaccine today in the first phase of the city's drive to make inoculation available to all school-age children.
School nurses administered the vaccine to students whose parents have signed consent forms. Officials do not yet know what percentage of parents citywide have signed the forms.
Some children were getting shots instead of the nasal spray, depending on their medical conditions.
The city's health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, said there are 40,000 doses set aside for the first wave of schools.
As of last week, the city had received about 300,000 doses of vaccine and was distributing them to doctors, hospitals, clinics and schools, Farley said. By the end of this week, the city expects to have received 800,000 doses, below the 1.2 million it initially thought it would get.
New York Hospital Queens planned to administer swine flu vaccine on a first-come, first-served basis on Wednesday afternoon at a community center in the Fresh Meadows neighborhood.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the swine flu virus, first identified in April, has killed at least 1,000 Americans and caused at least mild illness in many millions of others.
President Barack Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency.
"The city is making this extra effort to vaccinate children," Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs said in a statement. "Parents who want to have their children vaccinated may do so at no cost. Since immunization is the best way to prevent the spread of H1N1 in schools and throughout the community, this initiative is essential to the city’s influenza-prevention plan."