Officials still encourage swine flu vaccinations
By the numbers
Lab-confirmed and probable H1N1 cases
(From Aug. 30 to Jan. 12)
Rock County: 158
Walworth County: 285
Rock County: 34, as of Jan. 7.
Walworth County: 20, as of Monday.
Source: Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Walworth County Department of Health & Human Services
JANESVILLE While the prevalence of swine flu has decreased, health officials still are encouraging residents to get the vaccine in preparation for a predicted third wave of the virus.
Since officials opened the vaccine up to the general population last month, a steady stream of residents have attended clinics, health officials in Rock and Walworth counties said.
“It has been busy,” Rock County Health Officer Karen Cain said. “I do continue to see requests for the vaccine in the general population.”
Her department has given about 10,000 doses of the vaccine and has about 4,000 still on hand, she said.
“We expected to give some 30,000,” she said.
Mass clinics the department held in each school district in the county were busy, “but we weren’t as busy as we could have been,” Cain said. “We planned for more people.”
In Walworth County, the Department of Health & Human Services has given about 3,000 vaccines as of Dec. 31, Health Officer Pat Grove said.
The flu is still circulating—though activity is low—but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is predicting a third wave possibly in February or March, Cain said.
“If it follows the patterns of other pandemics, there’s a third wave,” she said.
While it’s still pretty unpredictable, Grove said those who are immunized now will be protected.
It’s difficult to get a grasp on the percent of residents who have been vaccinated. About 2.5 million doses have been allocated to Wisconsin, or enough doses for about 44 percent of the state’s population. But not all of the doses have been given, and the 2.5 million doesn’t include vaccines sent to places such as Walmart or Walgreens pharmacies.
Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services kicked off National Influenza Vaccination Week by urging local health departments to increase their H1N1 vaccination efforts among minorities.
A state report showed that H1N1 hospitalizations for minority populations were higher in the fall outbreak.
Grove said they’ve had a “very large” turnout from Walworth County’s Hispanic population.
“We’re very pleased to see that,” she said. “Many families have been coming. We do have interpreters at all of our clinics so we can serve them.”
School nurses have been a big part of her department’s partnership in outreach, Grove said.
Cain said her department is looking at outreach options, including better publicizing clinics in native languages and possibly handing out fliers in neighborhoods with higher minority populations.