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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Press conference discusses H1N1 influenza vaccine plan

Months after the announcement of the H1N1 virus, the worry and discussion continues, but Yolo County has a vaccine plan.

With the number of H1N1 virus cases growing, the Yolo County Health Department held a press conference last Tuesday, Oct. 13.

“I was hoping to get more of a turnout to emphasize the need to get vaccinated for the H1N1 virus,” said Dr. Judith C. Vallero, Sutter West Medical Pediatrician.

The meeting was conducted in Woodland to alert the Yolo area about its new H1N1 influenza vaccine plan and provide information explaining how the county will provide these vaccines.

Representatives from a variety of health organizations spoke at the conference, including Yolo County Health Officer Dr. Joseph Iser, Woodland Healthcare Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Thomas R. March, Kaiser Permanente Director of Medical Services Dr. Frederic D. Baker, Sutter West Medical Group Pediatrician Judith C. Vallero and CommuniCare Health Centers Executive Director Robin Affrime.

“Basically we have started to get some H1N1 vaccinations throughout the Yolo County,” said Deputy for Director of Public Health Programs at the Yolo County Health Office Cheryl Bowney. “We have very few doses. We have shared some with our health care partner. At the current time we only have the nasal flu mist version, rather than the shot injection version.”

Those speaking at the press conference stressed that the H1N1 flu is a series of the seasonal flu. Bowney said, however, that the virus should be taken more seriously, since it is possible there may be up to 90,000 deaths across the nation over the entire course of the flu’s presence. Primary concerns come from the idea that more ages and different groups of people are being affected, unlike those who usually encounter the traditional flu. The seasonal flu kills approximately 36,000 people nationally.

The focus of the meeting was primarily to alert pregnant women that they are at a high risk and should get vaccinated. Doctors also stressed the importance of administering the vaccination to children.

Bowney said the H1N1 vaccine would be available in larger doses around mid-November to early December.

“The vaccine will be free because the federal government is providing for it,” Bowney said. “Health care providers … are allowed to charge an administrative fee, but for us there will be no co-pay or fee.”

With the flu vaccine in high demand, not all patients are able to receive the flu vaccine.

“I recently went to get my flu vaccine and both the Rite Aid and the Cowell Student Health Center had run out of vaccines,” said sophomore communication major Caroline Jaynes. “They told me that the Rite Aid in Woodland had a few vaccines left and after getting there they told me I had gotten one of the last ones.”

Even if the university runs out of vaccines – which is likely – it will continue to receive shipments in the future.

Jaynes said one of her professors sent out an e-mail urging students to stay home if they are sick.

“I think that it’s really good that they are encouraging people to not come to class if they are getting sick,” Jaynes said. “The health clinics are also clearly trying to keep a large stock of vaccines and help out with this situation.”

SAMANTHA BOSIO can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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