KNOXVILLE, Iowa (KNIA/KRLS) – A lower than expected turnout at two H1N1 vaccine clinics in Marion County has health officials discussing whether to drop some scheduled clinic dates. County Public Health Director Kim Dorn says its costly paying over 20 staff members to remain at a clinic for hours when only a few hundred people get shots in approximately the first hour. However she says all tentative dates are currently scheduled, with the next clinic November 12 at in Bussey at the Twin Cedars schools district.
With the seemingly never-ending flow of phone calls and questions the department received last month about H1N1, Dorn says they expected more people to show up to the Knoxville and Pella clinics. She says there’s no concrete reason why more people aren’t getting the H1N1 shots. Public Health will notify KNIA/KRLS first with any potential changes in clinic dates or flu information.
Residents waiting in line at a Knoxville clinic this week told KNIA/KRLS they were glad officials are having the clinics, but wanted to see an expansion to more age groups. Dorn says they are waiting on the state to recommend the priority groups get expanded. However, Dorn says public health officials plan to start providing vaccines to school-aged children one district at a time, starting in the Twin Cedars school district next week Thursday.
Last month Marion County confirmed its first H1N1-related death. Officials say the person had chronic medical conditions which made them more susceptible to the virus. Ten adults and one child have perished from the virus in Iowa so far this year. Dorn says the deaths are tragic but expected: over 1,000 people die from the seasonal flu in Iowa.
Worries about a lack of H1N1 vaccine fizzled last month when the county had leftover shots from a Pella clinic. Having close to 900 doses currently and with another 900 expected next week also puts the county in a healthy supply.
Dorn says traditional flu-shots are expected to arrive in the county in the next few weeks.
The Next H1N1 Clinic is set for Thursday, November 12 at the Twin Cedars school district. Dorn says in addition to ‘priority group’ people, children six months to nine years who received a ‘primer’ shot last month need to get their H1N1 shot for protection. The ‘primer’ is the first shot the children received, which gets them ready to receive the H1N1 shot four weeks later. Dorn says those children need to bring the cards they received when they got their ‘primer’, which will tell them when they can get the H1N1 shot. Those children can only receive the H1N1 shot after the date they got on their cards last month.
Stay tuned to KNIA/KRLS for the most up to date flu and H1N1 information.