March 25 • 05:54 AM

Smooth run at H1N1 clinic

St. Clair County Health Dept. administers 684 immunizations on Mon.

Capac High School students receive H1N1 vaccinations Monday from St. Clair County Health Department nurses during a clinic at the elementary school. Close to 700 people attended the free clinic, officials say. photo by Maria Brown.

November 18, 2009
CAPAC — The lines weren't long and the tears were few at Monday's H1N1 flu vaccination clinic at Capac Elementary School. According to Sue Amato of the St. Clair County Health Department, a total of 684 vaccinations were administered.

A team of nurses swiftly administered the vaccine to dozens of students starting at 1:30 p.m. and began treating others in priority groups before the clinic officially opened to residents at 3 p.m.

Health Department Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Diane Forys said ideally a person spends no more than three to five minutes in a nurse's chair.

"It's a machine and we've got to keep feeding the machine," Forys said of the highly organized system.

A majority of the youngsters didn't need to worry about the painful poke of a needle since most received the nasal mist vaccine due to limited supplies of the injectable vaccine.

Monday's clinic was also the first in St. Clair County since the list of priority groups was expanded to again include persons 25 to 64 years old with underlying health conditions.

Everyone was required to complete a registration form. Forys said the health department uses that information to record how many vaccines are being administered. Staffers then checked the forms before sending attendees to a waiting nurse. Youngsters left with a sticker and everyone received an immunization card as proof of their vaccination.

Everyone was also given lots of information about the H1N1 flu and the vaccine. Forys said there are still lots of rumors about the dangers of the vaccine circulating that make some wary. Forys said they are working hard to dispel those concerns.

Capac's was the eleventh flu clinic that the health department has hosted. Since St.Clair County has begun receiving regular vaccine shipments again, shortages shouldn't be a problem. The county ran out of supplies at their seventh clinic earlier this month and had to reschedule clinics set for Yale Schools.

"It was devastating. For two weeks in a row we didn't get a shipment," Forys said.

The demand for the vaccine has also been strong considering residents from neighboring counties are frequenting St. Clair County's free clinics. Although the county asks for address information, there are no residency requirements.

"We don't deny anyone," Forys said.

They do rely on the 'honor system' though when it comes treating people who claim to be in one of the five priority groups for the H1N1 influenza shot—pregnant women, healthcare workers and emergency services personnel, caregivers of children under six months, children and adolescents aged six months to 24 years, persons 25-64 years old with underlying health conditions.

Next week, St. Clair County will hold flu vaccine clinics for the public at Marysville Middle School Nov. 23 and Port Huron Northern High School on Nov. 24. Both are open 3-8 p.m.

For more information, contact the St. Clair County Health Department at (810) 987-5300.

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