County prepping for H1N1 vaccination arrival

Raissa Tetanish
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AMHERST - Residents throughout the county will have a chance to vaccinate against the H1N1 virus thanks to the Cumberland Health Authority and Public Health.

Health authority spokesperson Ann Keddy said a plan is underway to get more than 20,000 vaccines for any residents that want them.

"We're aiming for 24-25,000 vaccines. Ideally everyone should have the vaccine, but unfortunately not everyone will choose to get it," Keddy said Monday afternoon.

While the plan is still being finalized, Keddy said it is her understanding that the vaccination will be available early November.

"We're still finalizing where (the clinics) are going to be, but there won't be just one location," she said, adding the clinic will move throughout the county and there will be more than one in each area.

Because of the number of vaccines coming to the county, retired and parttime Registered Nurses and Licensed Nurse Practitioners are being sought to help administer the vaccine.

"We're anticipating it to be a six-week period. Those nurses that want to help don't necessarily need to have training in administering the vaccine, as it will be taught," she added.

"They're looking at trying for 1,000 vaccinations a day."

The College of Registered Nurses, said Keddy, will also have a temporary licensing course, which will be covered for participants.

"This is a big undertaking, not only for the number of staff that will be needed, but because we also need the public engagement," Keddy said. "Plus, not only are we looking for the nursing staff, we're also going to be reassigning others to do things like registration."

Unlike the seasonal flu shot, Keddy said this vaccine may have more side effects, so those that get the vaccine will have to stick around the clinic for 15 minutes or more, so that also has to be taken into consideration when setting up clinics throughout the county.

With the first two cases of H1N1 in the county in the summer, Keddy said there have only been a total of four at the last she looked, which was a week ago.

"None of those four were recent. But saying that, they're not testing as frequently now, so there could be more cases. We haven't heard of any escalation in the area," she said.

If the time comes when H1N1 in the area gets to a certain level, Keddy said there will be assessments and clinics set up, and the public will be notified.

The vaccine will be free to county residents that choose to be vaccinated.

rtetanish@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: College of Registered Nurses, Cumberland Health Authority

Geographic location: AMHERST

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  • HB
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    *Unlike the seasonal flu shot, Keddy said this vaccine may have more side effects*

    Yet, I heard just last night another doctor saying it was exactly the same as the seasonal shot. Add that to the new fact that those that got the regular shot are twice as likely to get H1N1.

    Not instilling alot of confidence. They can give my shot to someone else, as well as the regular flu shot.

  • Fuzzy Bear
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    The health authority had better do a much better job on selling this program to the doctors if they want people to get vaccinated for the H1N1. We talked to our doctor about a week ago and at that time he certainly was not one of those promoting this vaccination. In fact the way he talked he was rather disturbed about the way this whole program is being implemented!

  • BusyMomOf3
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I would like to know more information on this vaccination before taking it. Spoke to my doctor yesterday and he could not answer one of my questions. Told me to touch base with public health. What are the side effects? Does one get the flu shot as well? What allergies does one have that should not take this vaccination? At what age should this be given, child, youth, adult, senior? Those who work with seniors and or children is it mandatory for these workers to have? This information should be made public and not just by a public meeting, not everyone can make the public information sessions due to work and family commitments!

  • Bob
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Count me out...I won't be taking no vaccine.