Placer flu vaccinations now expanded to anyone

Small turnout for first H1N1 clinic
By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein Gold Country News Service
-A +A
Kim Nilsson of Lincoln thought Placer County’s first public H1N1 flu-shot clinic on Monday might be a madhouse, so she arrived two hours early. Turns out she was the only one there. At 11 a.m., as health officials prepared to open the doors, an orderly line of around 60 waited to receive the immunity boost for the so-called swine flu. “I got here early because I thought there would be hundreds,” said Bill Hollister of Newcastle. “I jumped at it.” The free clinic was just the first of several scheduled for this week, as supplies of the vaccine slowly increase. Another will take place Thursday at the Maidu Community Center, 1550 Maidu Drive, in Roseville. Though the clinics were originally targeted for high-risk groups, Dr. Mark Starr of Placer County Health said Tuesday that lower-than-expected turnout of those groups Monday means the remaining clinics will be open to anyone who wants vaccine. “Most important is to assure vaccine availability to those in target groups that otherwise haven’t been vaccinated,” he said. “But (it’s) also important for any resident that desires vaccine.” Officials are continuing to stage school clinics, which have already vaccinated 13,700 children, or 30 percent of the county’s K-12 population. Emily Williams of Rocklin came to Monday’s clinic for one reason: she’s seven months pregnant. “I’ve gone back and forth,” she said about hesitation on getting the shot. “I think it’s so new. But my doctor talked me into it. When you’re dealing with an unborn baby …” Weekly Placer County hospitalizations due to H1N1 are well below their peak in mid-November, according to the latest official statistics. A total of 43 people have been hospitalized. Four county residents have died since April. Jim Karoush, a medic, said he’s seen firsthand the flu’s severe complications. “It’s serious enough to where people in the medical field need to have this shot,” he said. Gabriela Eichenberger and her 9-year-old son, Jason, recently immigrated to Lincoln from Norway. “We just came here in July,” she said. “We don’t want to get sick.” Nilsson came to Monday’s clinic to vaccinate her 16-month-old son, Luke. “He has asthma, so he has to get it,” she said. Nilsson didn’t think twice about getting her son the shot after several of her friends’ children came down with suspected H1N1. “The majority just got very sick, but I do know a couple ended up in the hospital,” she said. “It just seems a little more serious than the regular flu.” Starr said the county received several thousand additional doses of the vaccine in recent days and more is coming in. The next round of clinics should come soon after Jan. 1, he said. ---------- Upcoming flu clinics H1N1 clinics are scheduled this week for anyone who desires to receive the vaccine. * 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday a the North Tahoe Event Center, 8318 North Lake Blvd. in Kings Beach * Noon to 4 p.m. Thursday at the Roseville Community Center, 1550 Maidu Drive, Roseville * 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Gold Country Fairgrounds, 1273 High St., Auburn. This is a drive-through clinic. Enter from Auburn Folsom Road at the fair gate.