After weeks of waiting, the Richmond County Health Department is finally flush with vaccine against the novel influenza A H1N1 virus, even as the number of cases nationwide seems to be declining.
The health department received about 4,000 doses Monday and is now considering doing some vaccination clinics outside the health department, as it did 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 because the health department ran out of vaccine, which is why it waited for the new vaccine before resuming clinics.
The new vaccine will be available Monday through Friday at the health department during its regular clinics and 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 Monday, according to an e-mail from Ravae Graham, the spokeswoman for the Georgia Division of Public Health.
South Carolina had been allotted and will be ordering 132,100 more doses this week and by next week hopes to have received 970,600, Jim Beasley, a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, said. Nationwide, 61.2 million doses had been produced.
Hospitalizations in Georgia continued to decline, to 11 for the week ending Nov. 24, down from 18 the previous weeks. Georgia saw two more deaths that week, making the total 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, according to DHEC's latest weekly Flu Watch.
After reaching the highest level of flulike activity in recent weeks, both states have now dropped down to regional, or the next highest level, for the week ending Nov. 21.
While encouraging, it is too early to say that South Carolina is on the downside of the second wave of the pandemic, Mr. Beasley said.
"We would like to see the trend continue before making that judgment," he said.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday 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 agency will provide an update on vaccine availability and level of disease today.
Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHO GETS IT: The Richmond County Health Department is offering the vaccine against the novel influenza A H1N1 virus 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.
WHERE IT'S AVAILABLE: The vaccine is available Monday through Friday at the health department at 950 Laney-Walker Blvd. but will be offered Wednesday in a special clinic.