Dane County Health overhauls H1N1 vaccination strategy - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Dane County Health overhauls H1N1 vaccination strategy


MADISON (WKOW) -- Citing quickly diminishing supplies of the H1N1 flu vaccine, the Public Health Department of Madison and Dane County announced Friday afternoon that scheduled school-based flu clinics, which began Monday, will end on October 27.

"We're not in a situation now where our plans, which were based on having an abundant supply, are going to work anymore," said Dr. Thomas Schlenker, director of public health for Madison and Dane County.

The sudden shortage has health officials scrambling to rearrange their plans to administer the vaccine to children with parental permission in all Dane County schools.

"Our next shipment may come in next week, or more likely the week after, and until then we have none, so we're going to have to halt," said Schlenker. "Then when it comes in, we will be taking a somewhat different approach."

After consulting with the state health department and local health providers, PHMDC decided that the following sensitive groups should receive priority status when the new supplies arrive:

  • Health care and emergency medical workers who have director contact with patients
  • pregnant women
  • people who live with infants younger than six months old, and their day care providers
  • children between 6 months and 4 years old
  • children between 5 and 18 years old who have medical complications that put them at higher risk of influenza complications

As soon as PHMDC receives the new shipments of doses, it will set up clinics for the above groups who are unable to access vaccine through private health care providers. Information regarding those clinics will be publicized as soon as those days and times are established.

PHMDC hopes to resume its school-based clinics once the vaccine becomes more abundant, though nothing is certain.

But many parents are undecided about whether they want their children to get the vaccine, anyway.

"It's so new and I don't want to do anything to my body or my kid's body that hasn't really been proven," said Megan Crowe, who is eight months pregnant and has two young children.

Other parents who are undecided about the vaccine say they're glad to have more time to think about it.

"It's a little bit of a relief because now the decision isn't up to me, at least for a couple of weeks," said Lance Alston, father of two school-aged children.

And doctors say there's no need to panic.

"We are under conditions that are similar to the seasonal flu that we have every winter," said Schlenker. "People are going to get sick, and most of them are going to get better all on their own."

"There are so many things that are contagious," said Diane Soles, who thinks the whole H1N1 outbreak has been hyped up too much. "I think we need to have a more moderated scale for evaluating the severity or seriousness of a particular condition."

But for those who do want to get the vaccine, all they can do now is wait.

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