JoCo Health Dept. to receive H1N1 vaccine
Johnson County should receive the first shipment of the H1N1 vaccine in the next week.
Lougene Marsh, director of the Johnson County Health Department, said the county has been allotted 3,000 doses of the nasal-spray vaccine in the shipment.
“We believe it is the first of many shipments,” she said. “We are still anxious to receive the injectable vaccine.”
The nasal-spray vaccine is limited in use because it contains a live virus, Marsh said.
“The limitation with the nasal-spray is that only individuals that are healthy and ages 2 to 49 may receive the vaccine, and a woman is not pregnant,” she said.
Only those within high-risk groups will be eligible to receive the nasal spray vaccine that is being delivered next week, Marsh said.
“We will still need to stay within the targeted populations that have been defined by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). With the limited (initial) amount of the vaccine, we are going to focus or distribution to medical response and health care personnel. We don’t know when the injectable form would be available, but all indications are that it should be later this month.”
The injectable vaccine will contain an inactive virus.
Marsh said that while the 3,000 doses cover only a very small segment of the nearly 200,000 people in priority groups in Johnson County, the Health Department believes the process is to vaccinate against the H1N1 virus is moving ahead earlier than first expected.
“We are in a stay-tuned mode,” she said. “In that venue we are updated in current developments. We get information pretty much concurrent with it being available from the CDC.”
On Sept. 30, the Johnson County Health Department and nursing coordinators from local school districts met to discuss H1N1 vaccine clinics.
Each district will decide what method of distribution works best for its students and staff, Marsh said.
“Each district will be coordinating and cooperating with us in some type of campaign to vaccinate children in the district,” Marsh said. “There is a timing issue because we don’t know when the injectable vaccine will be available or when we’ll have quantities large enough to have the amount to make a dent in the population.”
Marsh said the group would meet again in a few weeks to iron out more details.
“Schools will be deciding what plans to use based on the response for parents as far as how many parents want their children vaccinated. They will have the opportunity to chose which vaccine to use,” she said.
Shelby Rebeck, nursing coordinator for De Soto’s USD 232 said, the district still was hopeful the vaccine would be available for students.
“The first shipment won’t come to us,” she said. “We are still hoping that eventually in November we will be able to hold our clinics. We will probably target our preschool kiddos first.”
Rebeck said the next meeting between nursing coordinators and the Johnson County Health Department was scheduled for Oct. 19.
Recently the Johonson County Health Department asked school districts to report if more than 10 percent of a school’s population is absent because of illness.
Rebeck said none of the schools in USD 232 have reached that level of absenteeism due to illness. However, many of the schools have reported absences because of flu like symptoms.