More H1N1 shots to be given at two Saturday clinics


The H1N1 injectable vaccine will return to Southern Nevada Health District clinics on Saturday, but if you’re eligible for FluMist, don’t expect to receive a needle.

The health district received a new shipment of the injectable vaccine last week and will start giving shots again at two public clinics on Saturday, officials announced Wednesday.

But because demand for the injectable vaccine for the health district’s supply of shots last month was so high, a stronger screening process will be used to ensure that those who qualify for the FluMist take it.

That would leave the flu shots for those who are limited to the injectable vaccine.

“We are going to be limiting the injectable to the people who absolutely cannot use FluMist,” health district spokeswoman Stephanie Bethel said. “If somebody’s eligible to receive the FluMist, that’s what they’ll be getting.”

The clinics are only for H1N1 vaccine priority group members. They will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the health district’s main location at 625 Shadow Lane, and its Henderson location at 520 E. Lake Mead Parkway.

Those in the priority groups include: pregnant women, caregivers for children younger than 6 months, medical personnel who deal directly with patients, children and young adults between the ages of 6 months and 24 years, and people 18 or younger who have chronic medical conditions.

Bethel said health officials will talk to those in lines outside the clinics Saturday to keep people informed on what type of vaccine they can receive.

Pregnant women and children with chronic medical conditions can’t receive FluMist, which is only safe for people 2 to 49 without medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes.

FluMist is a nasal vaccine made with a weakened live virus, tamed in the laboratory so as to not cause illness. The flu shot is made with a dead virus.

Since Oct. 23, the health district has only made FluMist available to the public.

“We don’t want someone like a pregnant woman who wants to get the shot not be able to get it because we ran out,” Bethel said.

During the last clinic in which the injectable vaccine was available, held last month, several people in line for the flu shot could have taken FluMist but were never informed they were eligible for the inhaled version.

Even after making it to the front of the line, no one suggested FluMist to them.

Bethel said that won’t happen this time.

“We don’t want them to get to the front of the line at all,” she said.

The injectable vaccine will be available at the health district only on Saturday.

The FluMist nasal vaccine will be available the rest of this week and at the beginning of next week.

Bethel said the district received a shipment of the H1N1 vaccine at the end of last week, which included about 12,000 doses of the injectable and 7,000 doses of FluMist.

The health district stopped administering the injectable vaccine late last month, because the supply had dwindled to around 6,000 doses.

The health district now has about 18,000 doses of the injectable vaccine and 20,000 doses of the FluMist in stock.

The shots won’t be available before or after Saturday because the district expects to use a large amount at the two clinics.

After the clinics, the district will evaluate how many doses remain, Bethel said.

“We’ll see what the demand is and replenish our supplies if we need to,” she said.

The news of the additional vaccines came on the same day the health district announced that two more people died last week from H1N1-related complications, bringing the total number of deaths in Clark County to 20.

The two who died were women, 61 and 44 years old, both of whom had underlying medical conditions.

Neither person would have qualified for a vaccination under the health district’s priority guidelines.

State Health Officer Tracey Green told legislators Wednesday that state and local health facilities expect to receive an additional 62,900 doses of the H1N1 vaccine this week. Because of manufacturers’ delays, however, the state still has received 20 percent fewer vaccinations than expected.

Green told the Legislative Committee on Health Care that, with the new shipments, Nevada will have received 195,000 vaccinations.

As of Oct. 28, 49,052 doses had been administered.

“It’s a nationwide problem,” Green said about the delays in vaccine shipments. “Each state is affected.”

She said five companies are manufacturing the vaccines and are trying to catch up with the demand.

By Jan. 8, she anticipates that 1.4 million doses will have been shipped to Nevada, which has a population of about 2.8 million.

Green said that the flu season normally ends in March, but it could extend a month or two longer in 2010.

“We don’t know when the peak will be,” she said.

A report about H1N1 and the steps the state is taking to deal with it is available on the state’s flu Web site at flu.nv.gov.

 

Las Vegas Review-Journal Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel contributed to this report. Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

 

Rules for posting comments

Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Stephens Media LLC or this newspaper. This is a public forum. Read our guidelines for posting. If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon next to the comment.