November 7, 2009
Long lines for flu shots end earlier than expected
Little Noor Khan, 8, of East Troy, wasn't happy. She stood by and watcher her mother, Iman, get her flu shot this morning, but was less than eager to take her place in the chair and roll up her sleeve. There were no tears, mind you; just a natural reluctance.
Finally, the nurse's promise of stickers put her over the tipping point and ... voilà, it was done, almost before she knew it.
And then Noor's bg smile came out.
Actually, there were far more smiles than frowns at Case High School Saturday morning, as 90 health department workers and volunteers lined up to give thousands of flu shots -- a total of 5,500 doses were on hand.
During the first 90 minutes it looked like they would be needed. There was a long line when the free clinic began, and 1,000 people received either the shot or the nasal spray. But by 10:45 a.m., the crowd was down to a trickle, and most of the nurses' stations were empty. (Update: The Journal Times reported tonight that a total of 2,220 vaccines were administered Saturday.)
Margaret Gesner, health officer from the Caledonia/Mt. Pleasant Health Department, was on the fence about whether the sudden end of the long lines was good news or bad.
"We expected the lines to persist," she said, "and we'd like to vaccinate as many people as possible. But this may not be bad because it may mean that people are getting the vaccine elsewhere."
Both forms of flu vaccination -- with a needle in the arm or a nasal mist -- were being administered this morning. The live virus nasal spray is for healthy people aged 2 to 49, and the shots are for older folks and those with underlying conditions, like asthma. The clinic continues until 3 p.m. today.
The county already has tentative plans for more free flu shot clinics, depending upon vaccine availability.