The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting that a total of 172,873 were given out at mass flu clinics across the state last week. That's 148,961 doses of seasonal flue vacccine and 23,912 doses of H1N1 vaccine. The clinics were very well-attended drawing huge crowds at Dickey-Stephens Park and backing up traffic for blocks. Of course, the news release doesn't say how many people didn't get the shot.
According to the release, Dr. Paul Halverson, State Health Officer and Director of the Arkansas Department of Health said, “Because of the extreme shortage of H1N1 vaccine available, the ADH had to limit H1N1 vaccine availability at the Mass Flu Clinics to include children ages 6 months through 4 years, any child 5 to18 with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women. “
As the state receives more of the H1N1 vaccine, it will continue to be given to the priority groups. Eventually though, ADH says anyone who wants the vaccine will be able to get it.
172,873 Doses of Seasonal Flu Vaccine and H1N1 Vaccine
Given at Mass Flu Clinics Statewide
Community Volunteers Seen as Key to Success
(Little Rock) – In one of the largest mass vaccination efforts in the state’s history, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is reporting that to date a total of 172,873 doses of seasonal flu vaccine and H1N1 vaccine were given at Mass Flu Clinics across the state.
At the statewide Mass Flu Clinics, 148,961 doses of seasonal flu vaccine and 23,912 doses of H1N1 vaccine were given to Arkansans.
Dr. Paul Halverson, State Health Officer and Director, Arkansas Department of Health, said, “I am overwhelmed by the numbers of people who have received vaccinations. This will go a long way toward developing immunity in our most vulnerable populations. We will have enough seasonal and H1N1 vaccine in the coming months to give it to anyone in Arkansas that wants to be vaccinated.”
He continued, “In a few locations, the combination of bad weather, heavy demand and a limited supply of H1N1 vaccine created a rocky start. We wish that we would have had sunny skies so that families and children wouldn’t have to have been in damp, cold conditions. We appreciate the public’s patience and understanding. On behalf of the agency, I want to thank the thousands of volunteers who worked with our local health units. This was a community effort and we truly appreciate the support.”
Randy Lee, Director, ADH Center for Local Public Health, said, “I am always proud of what our local public health folks and their communities do. But I have never been prouder knowing what they accomplished under such trying circumstances with horrible weather, huge crowds and vaccine shortages. It’s not an exaggeration to say that what they have done is both historic and heroic.”
Halverson said, “Because of the extreme shortage of H1N1 vaccine available, the ADH had to limit H1N1 vaccine availability at the Mass Flu Clinics to include children ages 6 months through 4 years, any child 5 to18 with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women. “
As Arkansas gets more H1N1 vaccine, those doses will continue to be given to priority groups first. 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. Eventually, there will be enough vaccine for any Arkansan who wants it.
It is important that every Arkansan get both the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccine during this flu season. Additional Mass Flu Clinics will be scheduled at later dates.
For more information, go to www.healthyarkansas.com or www.flu.gov .