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Published: Tuesday, 10/20/2009

Area health departments vaccinate high-risk people for H1N1 virus

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - The flashing sign at East Wooster Street and Dunbridge Road directing motorists to a swine-flu clinic yesterday probably wasn't necessary.

College students, families with young children, and others turned out in droves to get swine-flu vaccinations - mirroring what health officials are seeing across the region.

"I figured we'd get about 500 people, but after two and a half hours we had 420 people just standing outside," Wood County Health Commissioner Pamela Butler said.

Over the weekend more than 800 people visited a swine-flu clinic in Sandusky County, where health officials administered 440 injectable vaccine shots and 360 nasal spray vaccines to those who lined up outside Ross High School in Fremont, said Dave Pollick, Sandusky County health commissioner.

Those in line were patient and orderly, and no more than a dozen people were turned away for falling outside the guidelines for being considered high risk, he said.

Craig McKee of Ann Arbor holds daughter Regan, 6, as she is vaccinated by nurse Diane Krill, assisted by Amy Jones, at the Bowling Green clinic. Laws prohibit officials from turning people away at free clinics, even if they're from outside the county. Craig McKee of Ann Arbor holds daughter Regan, 6, as she is vaccinated by nurse Diane Krill, assisted by Amy Jones, at the Bowling Green clinic. Laws prohibit officials from turning people away at free clinics, even if they're from outside the county.
JETTA FRASER Enlarge

"At the end of the day [the vaccine doses] came out very close to meeting the need," Mr. Pollick said.

And a vaccine clinic in Springfield Township on Sunday drew

400 to 500 people, said David Grossman, the Lucas County Health Commissioner.

In Bowling Green yesterday, the line of people awaiting immunizations snaked around the Huntington Bank Building on Research Drive where the health department gave 352 injectable flu shots and 407 nasal spray forms of the vaccine.

The clinic was the first in Wood County held for any groups other than health care and emergency medical service personnel. It was aimed at people in high-risk groups, including pregnant women, people who live with or care for children under 6 months old, people ages 6 months to 24 years old, and people aged 25 to 64 who have chronic health disorders such as asthma.

Pat Snyder, spokesman for the Wood County health department, said federal regulations prohibit health officials from turning away individuals at free clinics - even if they're from outside of the county.

Laura and Kevin Arcuri waited more than three hours with their two young children. Mrs. Arcuri is due to deliver their third child in a couple weeks.

"Everything I see on the media scares me and, being pregnant, I don't have time to be sick," she said.

Taylor Stanford, 19, and his brother, Brennan, 24, also waited close to three and half hours to get H1N1 vaccinations.

Both said they work at a bar where they come into contact with lots of people, pick up people's beverage glasses, and feel vulnerable to swine flu.

"I'm getting the mist," Brennan Stanford said as a child who had just received the shot began wailing nearby.

Ms. Butler said she anticipates the crowds to continue as more flu clinics are scheduled.

The number of doctors' offices and other health-care providers giving the shots are limited, she said, although larger retail chains are expected to get the swine flu vaccine eventually.

She asked that people be patient.

"As soon as we get more vaccine, we'll have more clinics," Ms. Butler said. "We anticipate weekly drops, but I can't guarantee how much we'll get each week.

Staff writer JC Reindl contributed to this report.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6129.



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