Health

H1N1 Surplus In South Valley

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Record numbers of people showed up to Visalia's free H1N1 flu clinic Saturday morning. In Hanford the numbers were surprisingly low.

Isaac Garcia is tougher than his age lets on. He's only 8 but does not bat an eyelash at the site of the H1N1 flu shot. "It just felt like a little sting, a little sting," he said.

Every year he and his dad get vaccinated for the seasonal flu. Isaac's father said waiting in long lines like the one in Visalia for the H1N1 dose are worth it.

David Garcia: "I've seen my son sick before and I'd rather avoid that at any cost."

Saturday's clinic was only open for two hours and already 700 people received the H1N1 shot. The line reached well around much of the middle school. Health officials said it was one of the largest H1N1 clinics they had so far.

But not everyone is happy with this free service.

Resident Kristie Malek claimed her mother and father were turned away at a similar clinic in Exeter two days earlier. "Because they didn't fit the ages two to twenty-four criteria however they fit the state criteria for having chronic conditions."

Dr. Karen Haught with Tulare County said Malek's parents did not fit the criteria that day. "These school base clinics were set up initially to care for children and care takers of children."

Malek was able to get her mother vaccinated Saturday.

A short line formed at the Hanford mall where 8,000 doses where waiting for children, pregnant mothers and those in special high risk groups. After Saturday health officials are expecting a surplus.

"It's not going to be a bust but perhaps it wasn't as many as I would have liked to come out," said Kings county health officer Michael MacLean.

Between Kings and Tulare county six people have died from H1N1.

MacLean said despite extra vaccines they will not allow just anyone to get the shot. "You know we put out a sandwich board, 'Well, come on down,' that's random. That's not fair and equitable to other people."

Both counties will continue targeting high risk groups, while slowly expanding the vaccination to all populations.


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Tags:
h1n1, tulare, tulare county, hanford, visalia, south valley, health, john-thomas kobos
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