City discusses H1N1 vaccine distribution

City to set up clinics to distribute vaccine
October 14, 2009 4:37:16 AM PDT
The vaccine for the H1N1 virus is now available in Chicago. The City Council's health committee discussed Tuesday who will get the vaccine and when.City officials are working on plans to distribute it.

The process will be slow but the H1N1 swine flu vaccine is being shipped to Chicago.

The city of Chicago received a new shipment on Tuesday. It's estimated about 10,000 doses came in.

Health officials says the vaccines will continue to trickle in but when it comes in it will go out to those who need it.

The city's health committee called the city's top health official to City Hall to address the influenza pandemic. It was question and answer time.

"We're in it. We're in the flu season," said Dr. Terry Mason, Chicago health commissioner.

Dr. Terry Mason told aldermen 70 percent of the flu cases are H1N1.

"Most of the circulating flu is H1N1. That's why we're telling them they don't have to be tested because most of them that have flu have H1N1," said Dr. Mason.

"Briefings like this really help raise public awareness educate people to what H1N1 is about and just how important it is to get vaccinated," said Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward.

"We should make that sure people know how to have an immunization, where to receive it, and what are the conditions they should receive it," said Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward.

Last week the first doses of the H1N1 nasal vaccine arrived in Chicago. They went to hospitals for health care workers and those most at risk. As more doses arrive they will be given to doctor's offices and clinics.

Dr. Mason expects to receive the H1N1 inoculations by next week.

"We're putting most of this vaccine into the private sector so that people can go to their regular doctor just like they would get any other vaccine," said Dr. Mason.

Cook County health officials will get their first doses to schools. And in Will County, the first doses will go to community walk in clinics.

The city will set up mass clinics to administer the vaccines. They are firming up the locations but expect to have those running next week when they get even more vaccines. The clinics will likely include local colleges.

Chicago college prepares for H1N1 flu

Columbia College hasn't seen any cases of H1N1 but school officials know it's coming.

"All of the information that's coming from CDC, every day we hear more and more outbreaks throughout the country," said Bob Koverman, Columbia College.

Columbia is getting more information to students about the virus and prevention and will recommend getting the H1N1vaccine when it's available.

"I've heard the flu going around and how it's going to more prevalent this season which definitely makes me want to get the vaccine more," said Lorenzo Sorice, student.

"I've actually never had a flu shot but I'm going to get one my sister is going to make me get one she's pretty worried all these new viruses going around," said Demi Michalopous, student.

Benji Marton says his brother had H1N1 and it wasn't so bad.

"To be honest, I'm not too worried. I've had the flu before. If I get the flu, I'll let it run its course," said Benji Marton, student.

Protecting the city's college population is a concern for some officials.

"We have 67,000 colleges students downtown and most of them are in my ward and they stay over night and this is a huge population," said Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward.

The city's health committee called the city's top health official to City Hall on Tuesday to address the influenza pandemic.

"For younger people who never been exposed to this virus before may have a much harder time with it and that's what we're seeing," said Dr. Mason.

The city of Chicago recommends the H1N1 vaccine to:

  • children and young adults, 6 months old to 24 years old
  • 25-64 year olds with underlying medical conditions
  • pregnant woman
  • those with contact with babies younger than six months
  • healthcare personnel

Last week, the city's first nasal vaccines arrived to local hospitals. The injectable vaccines are expected in Chicago later this week or next week.

"We're putting most of this vaccine into the private sector so that people can go to their regular doctor just like they would get any other vaccine," said Dr. Mason.


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