Local News

H1N1 shots in high demand

Posted October 30, 2009

— Long lines at H1N1 vaccination clinics Friday in Durham and Wake counties exemplify the situation across the country, where demand outstrips supply.

Parents with small children, pregnant women and others worried about the H1N1 flu lined up outside the Durham County Health Department before dawn for the first of two scheduled vaccination clinics.

Durham County Health Director Gayle Harris said she counted at least 250 people outside the doors at 414 E. Main St. before 8 a.m. One woman told Harris she arrived at 5 a.m. to stand in line.

The line at the North Carolina State University Student Center snaked out the door and up the stairs. Sophomore Laura Sharpe said she waited for more than two hours.

H1N1 vaccine in high demand H1N1 vaccine in high demand

"My mom was on my case about it, so I am here," she said.

University health officials said they gave out 990 doses of vaccine to students Friday. The plan to hold another clinic next Wednesday and will have about 2,000 doses of vaccine available for students, faculty and staff.

In Durham, the crowd was largely made of parents and mothers-to-be.

Marilyn Diaz had been turned away from another clinic when she tried to get H1N1 vaccine for her 18-month-old daughter, Annie.

"I feel relieved, you know," Diaz said. "I just wanted to get it as soon as possible."

Mother-to-be Elizabeth Whittneben said she, too, had made multiple attempts to get the shot.

"(At) my ob/gyn office, it's just kind of luck of the draw," she said. "You call and, if they have the vaccine available, you can come in, but I just haven't been lucky yet."

Durham advertised the clinic for pregnant women and other members of high-risk groups -- caregivers or anyone in a household with infants younger than six months old and children from age 6 months to 4 years.

Shortage felt at state level

County health departments statewide are under pressure to carry out their vaccination campaigns before the winter flu season starts.

"Our goal is to get vaccine into as many arms as possible," Harris said.

The H1N1 strain of the flu, also called swine flu, has killed at least 5,700 people worldwide since it appeared in April, according to the World Health Organization.

Last week, President Barack Obama declared the spread of the virus a "national emergency" in hopes of speeding up production and delivery of vaccines.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that an estimated 22 million doses have been manufactured, and that number should double by the end of the month. Over time, the government expects to have as many as 225 million doses of the new vaccine if needed.

Dr. Albert Osbahr, president of the North Carolina Medical Society, said, "Patience is important."

He said vaccine production has been slow as manufacturers work to produce two separate medicines -- one for seasonal flu, another for H1N1.

Dr. Megan Davies, a North Carolina epidemiologist, echoed that message.

"We've had small amounts of vaccine to start with, and so that's been frustrating to everybody, but we have been getting it out all across the state," she said.

Osbahr said he worries that the slow rollout of the vaccine means the virus will linger in the population into the spring.

"If we don't have enough people vaccinated by that time, could we see another bump up in the spring? It is possible," he said.

In Durham, everyone who came to the clinic Friday morning -- almost 400 people -- got the vaccine. Harris said she canceled an afternoon session after the shots ran out.

Johnston County plans clinic

Authorities suggest the best place to get the vaccine is from your family doctor.

Johnston County will offer shots for both the seasonal and H1N1 flus Tuesday from 2 to 7 p.m. Shots will be limited to children ages 6 months through 18 years.

The clinic will be held at the Public Health Department located at 517 N. Bright Leaf Blvd. in Smithfield. Children need not be residents of Johnston County to get the vaccine.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • original Oct 30, 2009

    re iceman
    I wonder if the nurses at Wake told you this: This virus incubates for 30 days in the body. Therefore, a person could have the virus and not know it. If they get the vaccine, the vaccine is not going to work because they already have the virus. So, that person will of course get sick with the virus even though they had the shot. That explains why people are getting sick over and over again. Not because the vaccine does not work but because they probably already had the virus when they got the vaccine.

    As for the testing in OK...Same goes for that as well. Did the children already have the virus or were they injected with it after they received the shot? The test to detect the virus is only 60% accurate.40% is a high probability for false negatives.

  • lorivalentine1 Oct 30, 2009

    I am all for high risk groups getting the shots first if they want it. I disagree with any one who is not a legal US citizen though getting the shot here as high risk.. Go home to your own home country to get your shots if you want them as there are many legal US citizens who should get the shots first.

  • rescuefan Oct 30, 2009

    "Since when did YOUR decision automatically become MINE?

    As for the sinking ship comment...Try the guilt trip on someone else...I'm not living under Maritime Law, thank you.

    You forgot the rest of my comments. Quite amusing, actually. Here they are:

    "I certainly don't consider it rationing for them to try to get the high risk folks vaccinated first. They are more likely to die if they contract the flu. But some people, like affirmativediversity don't care about that. They just want something to scream and complain about."

    Again, you are not happy unless you are screaming and complaining, it appears.

    Also, you seem to have missed the analogy of the sinking ship, pregnant women and children. I thought I should point out to you that it was and analogy.

    Analogy : resemblance in some particulars between things otherwise unlike.

  • time4real Oct 30, 2009

    just walk in and tell them you're in the "risk" category, they are handling this like Govt. handles most things, they won't ask twice!

  • clover1019 Oct 30, 2009

    no shots for me. eat a healthy diet, exercise and take your vitamins you wouldnt believe how your immune system reacts i havent been sick in years from doing that. When im around large groups of people or traveling i take extra vitamin C. it works like a charm.

  • mwilliams2 Oct 30, 2009

    The lack of common sense, reasoning skills, and lack of ability to use logic by posters here is really just stunning. There is obviously something lacking in our school system.

  • affirmativediversity Oct 30, 2009

    You are absolute piece of work! It's probably best that you take out your rage here where you can do no harm. Cheers! per Hatchcover


    Yeah, right. You have a GOVERNMENT running around crying CRISIS, CRISIS...DANGER, DANGER...THEY work feverishly to get everyone all work up and anxious...WHAM...that self same GOVERNMENT says "Stand in line Folks. We'll decide who gets HOPE and who doesn't. OH and in WHAT order".

    Cheers to you too!

  • affirmativediversity Oct 30, 2009

    I am not getting the shot because I am not in the high risk category and I would rather that those who are get the shots. per rescuefan


    Since when did YOUR decision automatically become MINE?

    As for the sinking ship comment...Try the guilt trip on someone else...I'm not living under Maritime Law, thank you.

  • webberx101 Oct 30, 2009

    Free Cancer!

    Get it while it lasts!


  • Thornedwolf Oct 30, 2009

    I bet there in high demand when the news wont let the story die and admit they were wrong to frighten the public. But no instead of doing the sensible thing they decide to continue on there path of frightning people and raseing the demand of for countless hypocondriacs and worried parents.