First doses of FluMist distributed

There were no long lines at the Southern Nevada Health District Saturday as the first doses of the H1N1 vaccinations were made available to medical providers.

The clinic was offered to doctors, nurses and EMTs who met guidelines to receive FluMist, the inhaled vaccine. The clinic was held at the district’s office, 625 Shadow Lane, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Health officials said 326 people received the vaccine Saturday.

Brian Labus, senior epidemiologist with the district, said officials didn’t know what type of turnout to expect.

“It’s been pretty slow so far,” Labus said. “We wanted to make sure we would get people through no matter what the volume was. But we had no idea what that number would be.”

Clark County received 20,600 initial doses of the vaccine. FluMist is approved for people between the ages of 2 and 49, who have no underlying or chronic medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes, and who are not pregnant.

Labus said hospitals and medical clinics can also work with the district to provide the vaccinations at their offices for their staffs.

On Monday, the district will expand those allowed to receive the FluMist to other high priority groups. These include household contacts and caretakers of children younger than 6 months, and children between the ages of 2 and 4. The clinic will be conducted Monday through Friday at the Shadow Lane location from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bernard Ong was one of those who received the FluMist Saturday.

The 39-year-old orthopedic surgeon said it’s vital for medical professionals to step up and get vaccinated.

“It’s protection for myself and my patients,” he said.

His wife, Julia, a pharmacist who also got vaccinated, quickly chimed in.

“And for your family,” she said, looking directly at her husband.

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.

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