Wiregrass: No long lines to receive H1N1 Vaccinations

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - County health departments across much of the state administered their first shipment of the H1N1 vaccinations Wednesday.

Vaccine clinics prepared for the masses after seeing the overwhelming demand in other parts of the country.

But, it was a different story in the Wiregrass.

Peggy Blakeney, who oversees eight county health departments across Southeast Alabama said, "We were expecting long lines."

But long lines were nowhere to be found at Houston County's flu vaccination clinic.

Eleanor Miller, who is getting her H1N1 Vaccine said, "We did call and the nurse called us back within 10-15 minutes and told us that there was not a line."

After months of waiting for the vaccine to arrive, county health administrators were ready for much bigger crowds.

Blakeney said, "We are a bit disappointed that demand is not what we expected."

But while the numbers were down, the sense of urgency was high for some people waiting for their vaccination.

Thomas Williams, who is also receiving his vaccine said, "I am a lung transplant patient, and it's important that I do not catch a flu."

And folks know, right now, there's not enough to go around.

Houston County has approximately 1,100 vaccines, and since there are a limited number, the state is asking only those in the target groups to get vaccinated.

Patricia Alfonso, a soon-to-be mom, is one part of the target group.

She said, "I am at high risk, and I have had high risk pregnancies before.  I just want to make sure that everything is going to be fine."

That target groups also includes young children, their parents, and caregivers.

Eleanor Miler said, "We keep our grandbaby a couple of days a week, and we certainly do not want to have anything that she would be catching."'

And Miller isn't the only one taking precautions for children or grandchildren.

Blakeney says she's seen a lot of anxious parents and grandparents.

"They are concerned for their children because they are the primary care giver," she said.

More folks will be able to receive the vaccination once additional doses are made available.

Until then, it's important to remember those common sense precautions - like hand washing and disinfectants, to stay healthy.

The Houston County Health Department there will offer another clinic Thursday beginning at 8:00 a.m. until they run out.

©2009 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.