In our area, Fulton County Health Unit administrator Wanda Koelling, wants to assure the community that there are still plenty of seasonal flu shots available. "There's plenty of seasonal for everyone who wants a seasonal flu shot," said Koelling. "For the H1N1, we're still restricting those to priority groups. Children ages six months to four years automatically qualify for the H1N1. For children five years to 18 years, if they have underlying health problems they also qualify. As the vaccine becomes more available, then everyone who wants one can get it, but not until we have it."
On Monday, Nov. 2, a mass flu clinic was held at the Salem First Baptist Church. 546 seasonal and 80 H1N1 shots were distributed. According to Koelling, any doses left over following the mass clinic will be available at the Fulton County Health Unit for distribution. "For those areas that haven't received any doses, we'll share out some of our supply so that they have something available," said Koelling.
The Sharp County Health Unit held their mass flu clinic Oct. 29 at the Highland Assembly of God. Mary Scott, R.N, clinic coordinator said the department gave 1,023 of the seasonal flu vaccines and 112 H1N1 vaccines. Scott explained that many who requested the H1N1 vaccine were not given the shot. She said that officials with the Department of Health in Little Rock said to only give the vaccine to children from 6 months to 4 years of age and children from 5 to 18 with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma. Scott assured the public that the H1N1 vaccines will be available later in the month and said the Sharp County Health Unit is looking into having another mass clinic for the H1N1 at their Ash Flat location. There is still plenty of the seasonal flu vaccine available. Scott said the health department administered over 2,800 of both seasonal and H1N1 vaccinations to Sharp County schools including Cave City, Highland and Williford.
The flu clinics conducted at the local schools were quite successful. In Salem, the clinic administered 280 H1N1 doses and 420 seasonal flu doses. In Mammoth Spring, 44 H1N1 doses and 232 seasonal flu doses were administered, and in Viola 175 H1N1 doses and 241 seasonal doses were administered.
Even if you have already been ill this cold season, Koelling reiterates that you should go ahead and get vaccinated, for both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 when it becomes available. The flu season stretches to February, so there's still plenty of time left to catch the flu.