County still has H1N1 vaccines left over

Although the Alabama Department of Public Health had only 2,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine earmarked for Shelby County, those vaccines still are not all gone, said ADPH area administrator Mark Johnson.

The county still has 300 vaccines available for target groups, including pregnant women; children between 6 months and 4 years old; parents, caregivers and siblings of children less than 6 months old; children between 5 and 18 years old who have underlying medical conditions; and health care workers.

Johnson said he believes people in the South don’t feel the same urgency about possibly catching H1N1 flu as people who live in northern states.

“School starts so early in the South that a lot of people had already been exposed to the flu,” he said. “As opposed to the North, who starts school later and really hasn’t been as exposed.”

Johnson said the first Shelby County H1N1 vaccination clinic, held Oct. 28 at the Sports Blast on U.S. 280, was sparsely attended because of short notice. ADPH announced the clinics on Oct. 27.

However, the Oct. 29 clinic at Sports Blast and the Oct. 30 clinic at the Shelby County Health Department in Pelham were well-attended, he said.

“They were about what I anticipated Thursday, but were busier Friday than I expected,” he said. “I think having local media publicize it Wednesday made (response) increase Thursday and Friday.”

ADPH officials accomplished their goals of getting vaccines to people in the target groups, Johnson said.

“In the beginning, we were primarily getting people in the target areas, which might have contributed to the lower turnout,” he said. “We know by Friday it was beginning to be more scattered. We didn’t turn anyone away.”

The state will continue to receive H1N1 vaccines in small increments. When ADPH receives vaccines, clinics will be set up and publicized.

The 300 doses left over from last week’s H1N1 clinics will be given at another clinic to be held Friday, Nov. 6, at the Shelby County Health Department in Pelham.

The health department is located at 2000 County Services Drive in Pelham. For more information, call ADPH at 1-877-377-7285 or call the health department at 664-2470.