142 RECEIVE SHOTS AT HEALTH DEPARTMENT

Residents line up for vaccine as 2 more flu-related deaths occur

1/16/2014
BY MARLENE HARRIS-TAYLOR
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Editor's note: The cost for the adult flu vaccine is $30 at Saturday's walk-in clinic held by the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.

Tom Taddonio, a fire inspector, gets a flu shot from nurse Cindy McLeod at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department. The immunization event drew more than double the normal amount of people Wednesday.
Tom Taddonio, a fire inspector, gets a flu shot from nurse Cindy McLeod at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department. The immunization event drew more than double the normal amount of people Wednesday.

Toledo resident Elizabeth Terrell said she had never had a flu shot in her life. That changed on Wednesday when she was one of 142 people who received the influenza vaccine during the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department’s special clinic.

Ms. Terrell, who said she is 60-plus, is usually pretty healthy, so she never felt the need to get the shot before. Media reports about the flu-related death of 41-year-old Chris Wright of Monroe convinced her that this flu season is different.

“He was such a young man and it [his illness] was pretty quick, so I thought maybe I should get it. People don’t seem to last a week with this thing,”she said.

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Mr. Wright is now one on a list of seven casaulties of flu-related illnesses in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, after health officials in Lucas and Lenawee counties confirmed Wednesday that two more people had died.

The local health department scheduled Wednesday’s flu-shot clinic and a second one for Saturday in response to the rising number of deaths from the H1N1 strain of the virus, as well as a rise in flu-related hospitalizations.

Lenawee County health officials confirmed Wednesday a man in his mid-50s who died last week is the first reported flu-related death in that area.

Donald Martinez fills out a form for his granddaughter Emilia Martinez, 4, as they wait in line to get a flu shot. The county health department will have another flu immunization clinic on Saturday.
Donald Martinez fills out a form for his granddaughter Emilia Martinez, 4, as they wait in line to get a flu shot. The county health department will have another flu immunization clinic on Saturday.

Patsy Bourgeois, Lenawee County health officer, would not provide information about where the man lived or where he died. But she said, “He likely died from H1N1.”

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department said Wednesday that a 60-year-old man from Curtice died from influenza at St. Charles Hospital in Oregon, bringing the total number of people who died in Lucas County to five.

“This year’s flu is affecting the 18-59-year-old group particularly hard,” Ms. Bourgeois said, noting the people affected are generally healthy and active.

The concern over the H1N1 strain of the virus is the reason that Lee Huang of Toledo and his wife, Sara Gong, brought their two daughters to the flu shot clinic. The youngest child, 6-year-old Victoria, said it hurt a little, but her mother said she was very brave when the nurse administered the shot.

Mr. Huang said his co-worker’s wife is a pharmacist, and she urged him to get vaccinations for the family.

A youngster receives a shot during a vaccine clinic. The deaths of seven people in the region have spurred many to get a flu shot.
A youngster receives a shot during a vaccine clinic. The deaths of seven people in the region have spurred many to get a flu shot.

Zakkary Hanna, 26, of Toledo said it was his aunt that pushed him to attend the clinic and get the flu shot. He almost forgot, but he happened to ride by the health department about 5:30 p.m. before it was over.

“I hate the flu. I had the H1N1 back in 2009. My body was sore, it was hard to breathe, and my energy level was really low,” he said.

The pace had slowed at the health department by the time Mr. Hanna arrived. The clinic was scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., but officials started 30 minutes early because the lobby was packed.

Health officials said they administered more than 60 shots to residents in the first hour of the clinic. By 6 p.m., the number of people vaccinated was double what they normally see at this type of event.

Health department officials said they used up most of the 200 flu shots they had on hand but expect to order more for Saturday’s walk-in flu clinic, which will be held at the 635 N. Erie St. location from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost for the adult flu vaccine is $30.

The Lenawee County Health Department has added numerous flu shot clinics this week and next, the first being today from 1 to 4:30 p.m. The information on all dates and times can be found by calling 517-264-5226 and choosing option 2.

There also appears to be an ample supply of vaccine in the area.

ProMedica reports it has flu shots available at all three of its Pharmacy Counter locations (2655 W. Central Avenue, 2701 Navarre Rd., and 1515 S. Byrne Rd.), as well as its ProMedica AfterHours facility in the Perrysburg Medical Center at Levis Commons and in the offices of all ProMedica-affiliated family physicians.

ProMedica also said it is also hosting a flu clinic at Fostoria Community Hospital in Fostoria from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Mercy Health Partners said it is considering sponsoring flu clinics, but it hasn’t confirmed plans for any yet.

The University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio, which offered flu clinics in the fall, has information on its Web site about the vaccines, including a video interview and slide show with a physician.

Rite Aid says that flu vaccines are available at all of its Toledo-area stores. The store on Glendale and Detroit ran out of flu shots late Wednesday, however.

To find a Rite Aid that is offering flu shots, go to riteaid.com/​pharmacy/​services/​immunizations and enter a ZIP Code into the search box. The search engine showed 10 stores within 5 miles of downtown Toledo.

Walgreens also said on its Web site that it is offering flu shots at all locations. To find locations go to walgreens.com/​topic/​health-shops/​flu-shots.jsp. The Walgreens search engine also showed 10 stores near Toledo.

Officials recommend calling a store first to check supply before going for your shot.

Staff Writer Tom Henry contributed to this report.

Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor Marlene Harris-Taylor at: mtaylor@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.