Residents still being vaccinated for H1N1Vaccine for the H1N1 flu, commonly called the swine flu, is still available and being dispensed by the Central Valley Health District, according to Robin Iszler, administer of the unit.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Vaccine for the H1N1 flu, commonly called the swine flu, is still available and being dispensed by the Central Valley Health District, according to Robin Iszler, administer of the unit.
“We gave about 50 vaccinations last week,” she said. “And we’re making our last business clinic this week with about 80 people signed up.”
The vaccination process is continuing out of concern occurrences of the flu may spike again this spring.
“There are a lot of basketball tournaments and other events where people congregate,” said Deanna Van Bruggen, public information officer for CVHD. “That leads us to tend to believe there may be some more cases of the flu coming.”
So far this flu season North Dakota has reported 3,230 cases of type A influenza with 101 cases requiring hospitalization and three deaths. Type A influenza includes the H1N1 or swine flu.
In Stutsman County there have been 235 confirmed cases since the start of the flu season last fall but no cases reported since the start of the year.
“Flu-wise there is not a lot happening now,” Iszler said. “There could be another wave but we’re hoping not.”
CVHD has administered just over 4,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine this flu season. This amounts to about 17 percent of the eligible population of 24,000 people in Stutsman and Logan counties. This vaccination rate lags behind the statewide average of 23.7 percent.
“Technically this is still the influenza season,” said Molly Sander, immunization program manager for the North Dakota Health Department. “In a lull of the disease like this is a perfect time to get vaccinated.”
Sander said North Dakota providers have more than enough vaccine to meet any demand.
“Our focus has been on getting high rates of vaccination in the high-risk groups,” she said. “Something like 90 percent would be great in some of those groups but we didn’t get there.”
Sander said about 26 percent of medical professionals, one of the early priority groups, had been vaccinated as of the end of the year. Children under the age of 18, another high priority group, have a vaccination rate of about 25 percent statewide.
“There have been a lot of misconceptions about the vaccine,” Sander said. “But with more than 60 million doses administered state-wide it has been found to be as safe as the seasonal flu shots.”
Iszler said recipients in Stutsman and Logan counties have reported few side effects.
“One report of a sore arm,” she said. “Otherwise little or no reactions reported.”
Vaccinations for the swine flu are available free of charge at Central Valley Health District in Jamestown. Shots are available without an appointment by stopping at the clinic at 122 Second Street Northwest in Jamestown.
The North Dakota Department of Health and North Dakota’s local public health units are encouraging homebound residents to contact public health if they want to receive the H1N1 vaccine.
“We know there are residents who are physically unable to leave their homes or are unable to wait in line at a clinic or visit a doctor’s office. We want to make sure those residents have access to H1N1 vaccine if they want it,” said Sander.
Homebound residents who wish to be vaccinated can contact their local public health unit directly to arrange a home visit or call the North Dakota Department of Health influenza hotline at 1-866-207-2880 for assistance.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org