Additional flu vaccines coming to Marengo County

Published 10:35 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More H1N1 flu vaccines are on the way to Marengo County, thanks to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s response to the statewide need.

A clinic will be set up at the Marengo County Health Department on Friday, Nov. 13, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until the vaccine supply is depleted.

The target group for the vaccines has also expanded, now including pregnant women; household and caregiver contacts of children younger than 6 months old, to include parents, siblings and child care providers; health care and emergency medical services personnel; people ages 6 months to 24 years old; and people ages 25 to 64 with medical conditions associated with a higher risk of flu complications, such as asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, HIV and certain types of arthritis.

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Marengo County offices providing the H1N1 vaccine include:

The Alabama Dept. of Public Health, 303 Industrial Dr. North in Linden; H1N1 vaccination shot; a clinic will be held on Friday, Nov. 13, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Demopolis Pediatrics, Dr. Brenda McGivern. People are asked to call 289-5770 to make an appointment for children ages 6 months to 18 years; H1N1 vaccination shot.

The office of Drs. Ketcham and Dismukes (no appointment necessary); H1N1 vaccination shot for anyone as well as the vaccination mist for those age 2 to 49 who do not have asthma or an allergy to eggs.

“Our state health officer, Dr. Donald Williamson, held a press conference (Monday) and announced that Alabama has received additional vaccine,” said Jackie Holliday, the director of the Marengo County Health Department. “They are shipping it out to private providers, physicians and hospitals throughout our communities in Alabama as well as to the county health departments.”

Holliday said the Marengo County Health Department had 200 doses of the H1N1 vaccine on Oct. 28, and it was depleted within a couple of days.

“The supply that we are scheduled to receive this week is slightly less than we had before,” he said. “The vaccine continues to come in very slowly. We are planning on going into the schools to focus on kindergarten through third grade, beginning Nov. 30. Those are our strategies and plans right now, but that is all contingent upon receipt of the vaccine in quantities sufficient enough to go into the schools.”

A press release issued by the Alabama Department of Public Health said that the initial focus of vaccination in the schools will focus on students under 10 years old, since they require two doses of the vaccine about four weeks apart for maximum protection.

Holliday said there are currently no cases of seasonal flu, adding that 99 percent of the flu that the state’s health departments have seen this year has been the H1N1 flu.

“In fact, if we had had a little bit more time in the manufacture of the seasonal flu vaccine, H1N1 would have been in the seasonal flu vaccine,” he said.

“Our surveillance nurses with public health routinely monitor on a daily basis absenteeism in schools. Generally speaking, overall, absenteeism has come down in the schools around the state.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health recommends that children and adults with underlying medical conditions receive the H1N1 vaccine in injectable form, rather than in the nasal mist.