Mass Vaccination Clinics Update

Mass Vaccination Clinics Update

(Little Rock) – The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) reported that 54,798 doses of seasonal flu vaccine and 8,366 doses of H1N1 vaccine were administered Thursday, the first day of the Mass Flu Clinics, despite pouring rain, power outages in some counties and long lines.

This represents numbers from 29 of 38 clinics Thursday. Some areas have been unable to report due to severe weather and the loss of power and telephone service. Fifty-three of the 54 remaining Mass Flu Clinics are underway today. The other clinic is scheduled for Saturday in Nashville. Additional doses have also already been administered at school flu clinics statewide. Clinics in the schools will continue through December.

The ADH has seasonal vaccine available for the general public at the total 92 Mass Flu Clinics scheduled for every county in the state October 29-31. However, due to the H1N1 vaccine shortage nationally, the H1N1 vaccine will be available at the Mass Flu Clinics only for pregnant women and children ages 6 months through 4 years of age and children ages 5 through18 with underlying medical conditions until supplies run out.

“This follows priority group guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said Paul K. Halverson, DrPH FACHE, ADH Director and State Health Officer. “If we have plenty of vaccine, the recommended priority groups include pregnant women, children ages 6 months through 24 years, health care workers and emergency medical responders, people caring for infants under 6 months of age, and people ages 25-64 years with underlying health conditions,” he noted.

“If there is limited vaccine, the CDC guidelines for priority groups shift to pregnant women, people caring for infants less than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical responders, children ages 6 months through 4 years and children and adolescents ages 5 through 18 years who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications,” Halverson continued.

“Due to the extreme shortage of H1N1 and for the Mass Flu Clinics only, the Department was forced to further narrow the priority group to pregnant women, children 6 months through 4 years and to those children who are age 5 through18 with underlying medical conditions,” he explained.

As ADH gets additional H1N1 vaccine, the priority groups will continue to be the first to receive doses. As the supply of H1N1 increases over the next three to four weeks, additional mass flu clinics will be scheduled and eventually anyone who would like to receive the vaccine can do so. Also, as supplies increase, the ADH will be providing vaccine to the roughly 900 private providers that have pre-registered to distribute vaccine. The public should continue to monitor their local news media about availability in their area.

“Despite the horrendous weather conditions and some glitches in traffic flow, we feel the first day of the clinics was highly successful.  Hopefully the bad weather will clear out today and we will have much better conditions for our remaining clinics.  We appreciate the patience and understanding of the public as we continue with one of the largest mass vaccination efforts in the state’s history.  It is important that every Arkansan get both the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccine during this flu season,” Halverson added.

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