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Vaccine shortage forces cancellation of clinics today and Wednesday

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GINA R. HEINE
October 27, 2009
— A swine flu vaccine shortage Monday forced Rock County health officials to cancel vaccination clinics scheduled for today and Wednesday, but they hope clinics will go as scheduled next week.

Rock County Health Department vaccination clinics scheduled for today at Clinton High School and Wednesday at Beloit Turner's Powers Elementary School were canceled, but alternate clinics are being offered, Health Officer Karen Cain said.


"I suspect we might be looking at doing the same thing next week, but I don't know for sure," she said. "It changes day to day."


Mass vaccination clinics are scheduled for 3 to 7 p.m. today and Wednesday at the Rock County Job Center, 1900 Center Ave., Janesville. They will not offer shots, only intranasal vaccine spray.


Because of the H1N1 vaccine shortage, the state is recommending officials target only people with the highest risk among the high-risk populations, Cain said.


But the county has only the intranasal spray, which cannot be given to some people. That means Rock County residents must meet the following criteria to receive the intranasal vaccine at clinics today and Wednesday:


-- Healthy children ages 2 to 4 who have no chronic conditions.


-- Healthy people ages 5 to 49 who live with or care for an infant under 6 months of age, such as parents, siblings and day care providers.


"They're high risk because the little babies can't get the shots," Cain said.


-- Healthy health care workers and emergency medical services personnel up to age 49, who have direct contact with patients or infectious material.


Additional risk groups will be served when the vaccine injections becomes available.


The health department's tentative schedule for swine flu clinics next week is 3 to 7 p.m. on:


-- Tuesday, Nov. 3, at Converse Elementary School, 1602 Townline Ave., Beloit.


-- Wednesday, Nov. 4, at Aldrich Middle School, 1859 Northgate Drive, Beloit.


-- Thursday, Nov. 5, at Parkview Junior/Senior High, 106 W. Church St., Orfordville.


Cain's understanding from state officials was that the Centers for Disease Control still is shipping vaccines but in much smaller quantities. Clinics have to order weekly, and Cain has requested 3,500 doses each week.


"We've only gotten, so far, about 1,200 doses," she said.


Of those, 1,100 are the nasal spray.



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