Health-care workers, others get first round of defense against H1N1 flu
By Shelley Smithssmith@salisburypost.com
People flocked to the Rowan County Health Department for the newly arrived H1N1 vaccine Friday.
By 10 a.m., more than 100 people had received the vaccine, which comes in nasal-mist form.
The 700 doses the department had on hand proved to be sufficient for the day.
“Everything has gone fine,” Leonard Wood, county health director, said late Friday afternoon. “We had a pretty strong run of folks coming in after school, mostly children, and also some health-care workers and older folks.”
The clinic targeted health-care workers and people ages 2 through 49 ó people the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says are most vulnerable to the H1N1 or swine flu virus.
“We’ve had a really good response,” said Wood.
He said the health department would hold another H1N1 vaccine clinic in the near future.
The Health Department received its first shipment of vaccine last week and expects to see more as the season progresses.
The state will be distributing the vaccine to counties in small doses through October and larger doses in November, health officials have said
However, about 25 percent fewer doses than expected of the vaccine will be available this month because of delays in production, national health authorities said Friday.
And the World Health Organization urged doctors Friday to treat suspected swine flu cases as quickly as possible with antiviral drugs, according to the Washington Post. WHO officials warned that the virus can cause potentially life-threatening viral pneumonia much more commonly than the typical flu, sometimes in relatively young, otherwise healthy people.
The vaccine is not for everyone, though. Anyone who is pregnant, has a weakened immune system or a long-term health problem cannot receive the vaccine. Others with chronic conditions should check with their health-care provider before receiving it.
A person may have the flu if he or she has some or all of these symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.
The CDC says it’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
The CDC recommends those who get sick with flu-like symptoms stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.
“Most people with 2009 H1N1 have had mild illness and have not needed medical care or antiviral drugs and the same is true of seasonal flu,” the CDC says.
Area hospitals have revised their visitation policies due to the swine flu pandemic. Except in extreme circumstances, visitors under 18 are not permitted unless they are patients seeking medical care.