H1N1 vaccine demand high, supply limited

It has come full circle for Phyllis Roland.


She had just become a young public health nurse in 1976 when she helped out with that era's Swine Flu mass vaccination. After having retired earlier this year as nurse manager of Columbia County Health Department, she was back Wednesday morning as a nurse consultant to help with the vaccination clinic against the novel influenza A H1N1 virus.

"I am back to do the same thing all over again," she joked as she helped with the H1N1 clinic for the Richmond County Health Department administration office at 1916 North Leg Road.

More than 60 people made it to that clinic despite dreary rainy conditions.

"I'm just pleased that we did have the turnout we did," said Tammy Burdeaux, the nursing director for the East Central Health District.

The health department was also conducting a special clinic at its main clinic at 950 Laney-Walker Blvd. but figures for that clinic were not available Wednesday afternoon. The health department has about 7,000 doses of the vaccine, which also includes the nasal mist formulation.

Matthew Moses, 15, opted for the shot instead, the third Moses child to be brought in that morning to get vaccinated.

"I'm not going to take the risk of them catching swine flu," said his mother, Mary Moses, who earlier brought in 13-year-old Mollie and 8-year-old Drew. "If it's available, why not take it?"

At least one person who did not fit the priority group had to be turned away, but many others were exactly those who needed to get the shots, Mrs. Burdeaux said.

"Most of the people who have been here have been asthmatics," she said, a group included in adults ages 25 to 64 who are at greater risk from flu complications.

Others in the priority group include pregnant women, children and young adults from ages 6 months to 24 years old, caregivers of infants less than 6 months of age and health care and emergency personnel. To that end, the health department will go out next week to vaccinate Richmond County firefighters and sheriff's deputies, Mrs. Burdeaux said.

The Georgia Division of Public Health has taken a look at opening up vaccine distribution to everyone, but doesn't yet have an adequate amount and will continue to focus it on the priority groups, spokeswoman Ravae Graham said.

"It's still a very limited supply," she said.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.


RALEIGH, N.C. --- People should disregard e-mails urging them to register personal information on an H1N1 flu vaccine registry with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health officials warned Wednesday.

The registry is bogus, and people who try to send the information to the CDC might instead get a virus installed on their computers.

CDC officials have posted a warning about the e-mail scam on their Web page, and officials urged people to beware of e-mail solicitations that ask for personal or medical information.

It's unclear how widespread the phony registration e-mails are.

The vaccination program for the H1N1 virus has been a target of rumor, misinformation and hyperbole from the start.

Some questioned the safety of the vaccine, although it was formulated and manufactured identically to seasonal flu vaccines, and studies showed no unusual problems. Then production difficulties caused deliveries to arrive slower than promised, fueling criticism about the government's ability to respond to a health threat.

-- Associated Press


- Columbia County Health Department will hold special H1N1 vaccination clinics today from 3:15 to 6 p.m. at Evans Middle School, 4318 Washington Road, and from 3 to 6 p.m. at Grovetown Middle School, 5463 Harlem Grovetown Road.

- Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center Family Medicine Clinic will also be holding H1N1 vaccine clinics Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon and Dec. 12 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vaccine will be offered to active duty personnel and family members, as well as Department of Defense retirees and family members.

- Richmond County Health Department will continue to offer the vaccine weekdays during its normal clinic hours.