Health Department seeks additional funds for H1N1
By Shavonne Potts
The Rowan County Health Department is seeking approval from the Board of Commissioners to use an additional $301,601 from the federal government H1N1 allocations.
In a memo to the Board of Commissioners, Health Director Leonard Wood, explains the money is made available by Congress appropriating funds through the Supplemental Appropriations Act for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic.
The Health Department was notified of this additional money on Oct. 15.
“The funds are not for purchasing or covering doses of vaccine,” he said.
The money is to be used to assist with the implementation of mass immunization and related response activities.
The funds can be used for temporary contracted services assuring vaccine safety monitoring and reporting. It can be used to track vaccine supplies, buy personal protective equipment, administer vaccines at public health-organized clinics.
The funds are available and may be used retroactively from Sept. 1, when receipt of funds is approved by the county commissioners, Wood said.
The monies must be spent by May 31, 2010.
The people served in “mass” depends on the amount of vaccine received and that is available to either push-out to community providers and/or the health department providing a clinic(s).
“We have identified community providers from the beginning of the H1N1 outbreak to either directly receive or have vaccine ‘pushed-out’ to them when available. Pharmacies are part of the community providers,” he said.
This money is separate of the NC H1N1 Aid to County Grant the Health Department received. The Health Department was notified in August they’d receive $80,000 for vaccination, anti-viral distribution and administration associated with the planning of H1N1 vaccinations. The County Commissioners approved those funds in their September meeting.
Nursing Director Sharon Owen said of H1N1 clinics there will be a wait.
“The state is saying by mid-to-end of November that we’ll be getting larger quantities,” she said.
The small quantities are not a sufficient enough amount to have a mass H1N1 clinic. Small quantities go to private-sector partners, such as pharmacists or doctor’s offices.
When the health department receives its large quantity, they will make it available, Owen said.
For more information about future H1N1 or seasonal flu clinics, contact the Rowan County Health Department at 704-216-8777.