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Health officials preparing to begin H1N1 flu vaccines

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
The Rowan County Health Department will eventually obtain more H1N1 vaccines as the state distributes them in the upcoming weeks.
Sharon Owen, nursing director for the Health Department, told the county Board of Health during its Tuesday meeting they simply don’t know when they will get more vaccines.
They’ve already received 700 doses. The state indicated that it may be next week before they get more.
The counties will receive the vaccines in small doses through October and larger doses in November, Owen said.
The Health Department will have a clinic Friday for those people identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as eligible to receive the live nasal vaccine ó health-care workers and healthy individuals between ages 2 and 24. The CDC has also identified those who are not eligible to receive the live vaccine, which includes pregnant women. The department Web site has more information about who is eligible. (Link to the department through www.co.rowan.nc.us.)
When more vaccines become available they will be given to specific age groups. The health department will give notice of those clinic dates.
In other business, the board:
– Approved the acceptance of an $80,000 grant to be used for activities associated with the H1N1 vaccine. The N.C. H1N1 Aid to County grant will help with the cost of medical supplies, contract staff salaries, office supplies, equipment and printing forms.
– Approved the use of $3,000 of the Health Department Medicaid Escrow Reserve funds to pay for six months of rental space at SunTrust on Avalon Drive from January 2010 to June 2010.
The Department needs storage space for old patient and financial records. Health Director Leonard Wood said the department can rent a 600-square- foot storage area for $500 a month and can access 64 parking spaces for an added $450 a month. The health department is currently using a room at Daymark Recovery Services to store these records.
Once the Department of Social Services moves into its new office space and Daymark moves into DSS’ old space, there will be renovations to the East Innes Street building. The Health Department won’t need the space once all of the records are transferred to an electronic system.
– Approved the use of $48,400 of Medicaid Escrow Reserve funds to pay for the scanning of 720,000 pages of medical records. The department has on its own scanned records from 2000-2004 but still has records from 2005-2007. Storage space is at a premium, and the department is implementing an electronic medical record system.
Wood said there is a push to have the electronic records available for the staff soon, but the whole process will take years.
The next scheduled board meeting will be Nov. 10 at the Health Department.

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