After the two-week vaccine drive at the Health Center about 4,000 of the 7,000 vaccines will be given back to the county for redistribution. The vaccines will be given to other priority populations including children. The school districts of San Luis Obispo County are preparing to give the vaccine to children. The County Health Agency is assessing the needs of the population and distributing vaccines where necessary according to needs. Cal Poly need for the vaccine has decreased.
“We are discontinuing it because the demand for it has fallen,” Dr. Martin Bragg, the director of Health and Counseling Services said.
With early expectations the Health Center had ordered more than necessary.
The Health Center received an additional 3,500 vaccines on Nov. 10, the second of two shipments expected from the county.
“We originally ordered 19,000. We thought we might have to give everyone two shots,” Bragg said.
Bragg said that officials were unsure if recipients would require two doses of the vaccine. With 19,000 vaccines he thought they would be able to serve the populations who wanted the vaccine and give them two doses.
The County Health Dept. only allotted 7,000 of the 19,000 requested vaccines for Cal Poly.
After receiving the vaccine Health Center officials organized a vaccine drive, which began Nov. 3. The Health Center closed normal operations and was only open to give the vaccine. The vaccine was also offered Nov. 4,5,10 and 12.
During those dates Health Center officials hoped to administer 1,000 vaccines per day of the vaccine drive.
The first day it was offered, about 750 vaccines were given. There was a line out the Health Center door down to Perimeter Road of students waiting to receive it. The second day, about 500 were given, and the third day, over 200.
“Those who didn’t get it (the vaccine) have in a sense decided that the risk isn’t worth the shot,” Bragg said. “I am a little disappointed that we didn’t give more vaccines.”
The next big push to vaccinate will be in kindergarten through 12th grade schools, which is one of the places getting vaccines . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that the initial target groups for the vaccine included people aged from six months to 24 years of age. The extra vaccines collected from Cal Poly will be going to these groups beginning in the public schools.
The San Luis Obispo Public Health Department and County Office of Education sent packets home with children starting Nov. 2 with information and consent forms.
In a release from the San Luis Obispo County Health Agency and Office of Education, health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said, “Vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread of influenza in schools throughout the community.”
The release asked parents who wished for their children to be vaccinated to return the required permission slip as soon as possible. The dates for the vaccinations are uncertain, but they do not expect the Public Health school vaccinations to start until Nov. 10. The program will begin in elementary schools and then include middle and high schools as more vaccines become available.
The vaccine is becoming more available and more widely spread. According to the CDC, “The federal government has purchased a total of 250 million doses of 2009 H1N1 vaccine. The 2009 H1N1 vaccine first became available in early October, and more doses are becoming available every week.”
The H1N1 vaccine is still available at the Health Center and will be offered during regular business hours.
“As more vaccine becomes available, we hope to ensure that every person who wants a vaccine can receive one,” Borenstein said in the release.
For county updates, visit slocounty.ca.gov/health/publichealth/swineflu.htm or call the 24-hour Public Health information line at 805-788-2903. More information can be found at afd.calpoly.edu/ehs/h1n1 or on the Health Center’s H1N1 hotline at 805-756-6099.