November 7, 2009

Long lines for flu shots end earlier than expected

Noor Khan watches intently as mom, Iman, gets her shot

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 ... voilĂ , 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.

Nurses' vaccination stations lacked only patients


  1. It was a breeze. Got get your flu shot.

  2. Baaaaa Baaaaa

  3. Anon 9:49,

    What the hell does Baaaaa Baaaaa mean?

  4. I understand that despite the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, people with chronic illnesses were turned away from today's Case inoculation clinic, even though thousands of dosages were left over by the end of the day.

    Worse, many more people who need the vaccine because they're in CDC-defined risk groups from chronic illness were dissuaded from showing up in the first place by the public postings.

    Now, it's announced that the next clinic will be held in the western end of the county, far away from the most densely populated areas, and probably not for another week's time.

    This is screwed up and needs to be fixed.

    Some responsible party needs to step in to ensure that additional clinics are conducted this week in Racine, and in locations that are more conveniently located for people with limited mobility and/or those who don't have access to personal transportation.

    It almost seems as if the health departments were trying to prevent people from getting the vaccine rather than facilitating inoculations.

    Given the dynamics of a pandemic, this is not responsible.

  5. "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."

    That comment is laughable. How would people be getting vaccines elsewhere? It's not like they've been accessible. I'm still waiting to be eligible and it does not look promising that I'll get one in the near future.

  6. Try holding the next clinic on Monument Square. Get a band and everyone liquored up. Vaccination on the Pavement. It's our solution for everything else.

  7. In all of the pictures (JT and RacinePost), none of the nurses are wearing gloves while giving these shots?!?!?! Ewww... The nurse that gave me my seasonal flu shot had some gloves on. Too much cost maybe?!?! Maybe the Post could call the HD and see why they didn't require gloves?

  8. In regard to the "elsewhere" comment...people could be getting the vaccine from clinics held by other public health departments. That's probably what she meant.

  9. There's no reason for a medical practitioner to wear gloves to administer a flu shot unless he or she has an open cut or may come into contact with bodily fluids from the patient.


  11. I think "Baaaaa" is related to the fact that everyone's freaking out about this flu like it's some major pandemic when it's not that big of a deal. Heck, almost every doctor and chiropractor I've talked to says most people should avoid this vaccine like the plague.

  12. My doctors have all offered the opposite advice, that it's imperative for me to get the shot. It's probably the difference between those who are in the most susceptible groups and those who are not.

  13. Anon, 6:22,

    Not to question the communicable disease expertise of your chiropractor, but while this flu is relatively mild for most people, it can be deadly for children and others with heightened health risks.

    It's quite right to inoculate these most vulnerable people first, but it's also important for others to get the vaccine once it's more widely available.

    The higher percentage of the population inoculated, the less risk for others.

    Influenza mutates, and it rarely gets better; it generally gets worse, posing a more dangerous threat to everybody.

    A vaccinated public will reduce those risks for everyone.

  14. Orbs - I think I will dismiss you on that comment - but it was kind of funny!

  15. "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."
    After telling people that are recommended by the CDC to get the shot that they will be turned away, a local official comes to this conclusion.
    Please smoke the crack on your own time.

  16. Still subject to eligibility rules but the next Oak Creek clinic is open to non residents which is something I haven't seen before. See information below.

    Milwaukee County
    7 miles
    340 E Puetz Road
    Oak Creek, WI 53154view map
    FLU SHOTS (more info...)
    Service description: This vaccination clinic administering both nasal and injection vaccine and is targeted toward the following target groups:
    * Pregnant women
    * Persons who live with or provide care for infants age 6 months or younger, which could include parents, siblings, daycare providers)
    * Health care and emergency medical services personnel who have direct contact with patients or infectious material
    * Children age 6 months - 4 years
    * Children and adolescents age 5-18 years who have chronic medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications
    Non-residents may come to this clinic.
    Intake:Walk-in; first-come, first-serve.
    Eligibility:See service description.
    Services:Flu Vaccinations for H1N1 Influenza
    Site hours:Saturday, November 14, 2009, 10:00am-2:00pm. Subject to availability of vaccine.