Local News

Thousands get H1N1 vaccine in Durham

Posted November 11, 2009 11:07 a.m. EST
Updated November 12, 2009 9:50 a.m. EST

People looking for protection from the H1N1 flu lined up in the rain outside the National Guard Armory in Durham Wednesday.

The Durham County Public Health Department  was offering H1N1 vaccinations for high-risk groups at 801 Stadium Drive until 7 p.m. or until supplies are depleted.

Chris Kromm waited in line to get shots for his two children.

"You know it's hard to find these shots, so when we saw it was coming here we got here ... in time for 10 a.m. So did everybody else," Kromm said.

The crowd in Durham Wednesday is typical for the turnout at recent clinics, where shots have been in high demand.

Durham County planned to distribute 2,700 doses of vaccine to pregnant women and other at-risk groups – those who live with or care for children 6 months or younger, health care workers, people aged 6 months through 24 years, and people with chronic health problems or compromised immune systems.

Through 5 o'clock, more than 2,000 doses had been delivered, Gayle Harris, county health director, said.

Jacob Galbraith, 6, said his wait in the wind and rain was worse than the nasal spray vaccine.

According to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, children under 10, like Jacob, need a second dose of the vaccine after 30 days.

"Now they've got their first vaccination. Another 30 days, we'll have to go through this again," his father Michael Galbraith said, adding, "Hopefully the line won't be as long."

Harris said she expected another 1,200 doses later in the week. She hopes to be able to hold a clinic every Wednesday.

"We have a clinic set for next week," she said. "We're going to just try to plan as we get the vaccine."

North Carolina Health Director Jeff Engel said the volume of available H1N1 vaccine is increasing, but delivery has been up to 45 days behind schedule.

The state orders the H1N1 vaccine each week based on a formula of the population and distributes it to different providers. County health departments and pharmacy chains got a large portion of past H1N1 vaccines, but Engel said they're shifting more toward private primary care providers.

"Because in this time of scarceness, when the H1N1 vaccine is in short supply, we think the best way to target it is in children with underlying disease and pregnant women. And we think the private provider community can do that best," Engel said.

Next shots for shots

The Cumberland County Public Health Department will host vaccination clinics from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday and from 8 a.m. to noon Friday at 227 Fountainhead Lane in Fayetteville.

The county is also targeting high-risk groups for the vaccine. It will be available free on a first-come, first-served basis.

Wayne County will offer the vaccine to members of high-risk groups Saturday at 301 N. Herman St. in Goldsboro.

Flu cases on campus

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has scheduled eight clinics this week to distribute the nasal form of the vaccine.

The university Department of Environment, Health and Safety recommends that vaccine for people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel and healthy people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old. Those who are pregnant, or who have underlying medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and other chronic illness are advised to wait for an injection and avoid the nasal vaccine.

Those in the target groups can make an appointment for one of eight scheduled clinics from the EHS Web site at http://www.ehs.unc.edu/ueohc/h1n1flushot.shtml.

UNC health services has diagnosed more than 1,200 students with flu-like symptoms since the beginning of the semester in August.

North Carolina State University has seen a similar number of flu cases, according to the Web site of the Student Health Center there.