Lines long for first public clinic for H1N1 in Bullitt Co.

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By Mallory Bilger

SHEPHERDSVILLE ee" Even though the line for the Bullitt County Health Department’s novel H1N1 vaccination clinic held last Tuesday stretched more than a 1,000 people long, the event was orderly and no one was turned away because of a shortage.

Health Department Public Health Director Swannie Jett said Wednesday 1,400 novel H1N1 and season flu vaccines were administered at Paroquet Springs Conference Centre from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m..

Leftover H1N1 doses are being stockpiled as part of a plan to vaccinate Bullitt County school children.

“Hopefully in the next week or so we will have secured enough for schools to begin the process,” Jett said.

Jett said public information about school vaccination clinics would probably become available in the next week.

“We want to make sure we have enough vaccines on hand,” he said.

Tuesday’s clinic was the third opportunity offered by the health department in the last two weeks to vaccinate target groups. Those groups include health care workers, pregnant women, caretakers for infants younger than six months, persons six months to 24 years of age and persons 25 to 64 years old with chronic medical conditions.

The general population wanting a novel H1N1 vaccination from the health department will have to wait until another public vaccination clinic is planned. Jett said more are being schedule, but no date has been released because physicians and health departments don’t know when they will receive more vaccine.

Steve Cox of Mount Washington arrived at Paroquet Springs Conference Centre at noon Tuesday to save a place for his son, Luke, who turns three next week.

“I just wanted to make sure my little boy got a shot,” said Cox. “You need to safeguard your children if you can.”

Mount Washington’s Maria Lucas could have been discouraged by being last in line when the clinic’s doors opened Tuesday but was not. She was willing to wait her turn to get a vaccination for her three-year-old daughter, Madison.

“We’re here to prevent further flu,” she said.

People wanting get the season flu shot at the health department have probably missed their chance. Jett said as of last Wednesday the department had administered almost all of its seasonal shipment.

“Usually we pretty much stop administering the season flu (vaccine) around Thanksgiving. That’s when most people stop coming to the health department for that vaccine,” he said.

Jett said last year the department administered 3,500 seasonal flu shots. This year it gave out approximately 4,300.

Those still wanting a season flu shot are encouraged to contact their doctor’s office.

“There is a shortage of (the season flu vaccine) being produced because most of the manufacturers have stepped up their efforts to manufacture H1N1, so there’s been a lag in distributing the regular flu vaccine,” he said.

Many doctor’s offices in the region are reporting shortages of both the seasonal and novel H1N1 flu vaccinations.

Jett encouraged the public to check the department’s Web site at www.bullittcountyhealthdept.com and to watch local media outlets for H1N1 vaccination updates. He said information would be released as it became available.