By Johnny Jackson
Health officials warn that Henry County is out of the injectable H1N1 influenza vaccine until further notice.
Henry County Nurse Manager Jill Bolton said the county's health department received 200 doses of injectable H1N1 vaccine on Oct. 30, but ran out less than a week later, on Nov. 5. "A lot of counties got thousands of doses, and we only got 200," Bolton said. "But, we're really hoping to get some more."
The county health department ran out of the nasal spray form of the H1N1 vaccine last month, she said. The department is out of vaccine for the seasonal flu as well. "We don't know when, or if, we'll be getting some more," Bolton added. "We're kind of waiting and watching."
McDonough resident, Marie Swanson, said she has been increasingly concerned about her 6-year-old son's health, as people around her fall ill. She took her son, Logan, to the health department last month to get the injectable vaccination.
"We wanted to get him vaccinated as soon as possible," Swanson said. "It's better than not being protected. I just want him to be protected from whatever I can protect him from."
Though supplies have since dried up at the local health department, some Henry County residents will still be able to get vaccinated this weekend at the Clayton County Board of Health, which will offer the H1N1 injectable flu vaccine on Saturday, from 9 a.m., until 4 p.m., for priority groups identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Veronda Griffin, spokeswoman for the Clayton County Board of Health.
Griffin said the Board of Health received about 3,000 doses of injectable H1N1 vaccine last week, and will provide the vaccine, at no charge, on a first-come, first-served basis until the supply is depleted.
She said the board will be targeting high-risk, priority groups as the first recipients of the vaccine. The CDC-recommended priority groups include: pregnant women; people who live with, or care for, infants younger than 6 months; health care and emergency medical services personnel; children from 6 months through 18 years of age; young adults, ages 19-24; and adults, ages 25-64, with underlying medical conditions that put them at greatest risk for flu-related complications.
Griffin said those who do not fit into one of the aforementioned priority groups should not attend the Board of Health's vaccination clinic on Saturday.
"Ideally, we want to provide the H1N1 vaccine to everyone that wants to receive it," said Dr. Alpha Fowler Bryan, district health director for the Clayton County Board of Health. "But, there are limitations on when we receive the vaccine and how much we ultimately receive."
According to Griffin, the vaccination clinic will not include vaccination for season flu. However, those seeking protection against H1N1, and meet the priority group guidelines, should stop by the Board of Health's office, at 1117 Battlecreek Road in Jonesboro. The board will also offer the H1N1 injectable vaccine as a walk-in service Monday through Friday, from 8:15 a.m., until 4 p.m.
Griffin said residents should also pursue time-tested measures to help stave off the spread of the influenza virus. "With any flu, we advise people to use good hand-washing etiquette, to use good cough etiquette, and to stay home when they are sick," she said. "Alcohol-based sanitizers are acceptable in the absence of soap and warm water."
To learn more about the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine, call the Clayton County Board of Health at (678) 610-7199, or visit the web site at www.claytoncountypublichealth.org.