The Faulkner County Health Department held a mass flu shot clinic Thursday at the McGee Center.
The seasonal flu vaccine was offered at no cost to all residents, and the H1N1 flu vaccine was offered at no cost to pregnant women, children ages 6 months to 4 years, and children ages 5-18 with chronic diseases.
Another mass clinic will be held in December.
Carey Woods, district manager of the central region for the Arkansas Department of Health, said the Centers for Disease Control distributes the H1N1 vaccine to health departments and placed the eligibility requirements on who may receive it at this time. She said the ADH hopes to expand the offering as soon as possible, maybe in the next two weeks or so, to include more people.
She said a large number of people turned out Thursday morning, filling the McGee Center’s gym and parking lot.
Elise Brown, director of the Faulkner County Health Department, said as of noon, workers had administered vaccines to about 1,548 people. She said the number receiving only the H1N1 vaccine was 183; those receiving only the seasonal flu vaccine numbered 1,150; and 215 residents received both vaccines. She noted when school ended for the day, another flood of people would likely attend.
Woods said, "H1N1 is more contagious than previous seasonal flus have been, which is why we encourage getting that one. We encourage washing of hands and general sanitation for those who are not eligible for that (vaccination) at this time."
The clinic was to end at 7 p.m. Thursday, but a second mass clinic is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 10. Vaccinations will be available at the Faulkner County Health Department, but there will be a charge for the seasonal flu vaccination. The H1N1 vaccination will continue to be free for eligible patients, Woods said.
The Faulkner County Health Department is also providing seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines free for public school students and seasonal flu vaccines at no charge for public school staff. Vaccinations in public schools started last week and will continue through December, Woods said.
"We encourage everyone to get the flu shot, both seasonal and H1N1," Brown said.
"We also encourage people to take advantage of our mass clinics," Woods said.
(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1277. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)