H1N1 vaccine now plentiful

After weeks of waiting, the Richmond County Health Department is finally flush with vaccine against the novel influenza A H1N1 virus, even as the amount of disease nationwide seems to be declining.


The health department received about 4,000 doses today and is now considering doing some vaccination clinics outside the health department, as it had done previously in the Richmond County school system with seasonal flu vaccine, said Clinical Nursing Director Teresa A. Catlett. Those earlier clinics had to be halted before they were complete because the health department ran out of vaccine, which is why the health department waited on clinics for the new vaccine.

“We didn’t want that to happen again,” Ms. Catlett said. The new vaccine will be available Monday through Friday at the health department during its regular clinics but will be available Wednesday during a special clinic, she said.

“It will be faster if they do Wednesday,” Ms. Catlett said.

Overall, the state of Georgia has been allocated 2,093,200 doses of the vaccine and had ordered more than 1.8 million as of today, according to an e-mail from Ravae Graham, spokeswoman for the Georgia Division of Public Health.

South Carolina had been allotted more than 870,000 doses as of last Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, 61.2 million doses had been produced at last count.

Hospitalizations in Georgia continued to decline, to 11 for the week ending last Tuesday, down from 18 the previous weeks. Georgia saw two more deaths that week, making it 39 since the pandemic began.

For the week ending Nov. 21, South Carolina saw 28 hospitalizations and one more death, bringing its total of fatal cases to 36 since Sept. 1, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported in its latest weekly Flu Watch.

After reaching the highest level of influenza-like activity in recent weeks, both states have now dropped down to regional, or the next highest level, for the week ending Nov. 21. The CDC reports that 32 states were at widespread or highest level of activity for that week, down from 43 states the week before. Despite the apparent decline, the level of activity is still high for this time of year, the CDC reported.

The Richmond County Health Department is offering the vaccine only for those in the priority group:

- Pregnant women;

- Children and young adults ages 6 months to 24 years old;

- Those with chronic health problems, such as asthma, from 25 to 64 years old;

- Health care workers and emergency personnel;

- Caregivers of infants less than 6 months old.



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