Crow Wing County Public Health workers braced for long lines and vaccine shortages but neither happened at the county's first H1N1 immunization clinic Monday at the Brainerd Armory.
The county still had about 400 of the 900 doses of the H1N1 injectable and nasal spray vaccine left Monday night after the eight-hour clinic.
"I am surprised we didn't have more people coming but we did kind of narrow it down to a small subset of the high risk population, so I guess when I think about it, it doesn't surprise me," said Joyce Mueller, a Crow Wing County Public Health nurse. "I think the criteria was very strict but we didn't know how many people would respond."
The clinic was open to only children ages 6-35 months and anyone ages 2-49 who live with or are caregivers of infants younger than 6 months. Those who didn't fit this criteria were turned away and unable to get the vaccine.
Kathryn Black Lance held her daughter, Olivia, as she was given the H1N1 nasal spray vaccine Monday at the Brainerd Armory. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Mueller was one of about 25 county workers, who along with eight health care volunteers, staffed the clinic Monday. The county had 400 doses of the injectable vaccine, which was given to children ages 6 months to 23 months, and 500 doses of the FluMist, which was administered to children ages 24-35 months and others who fit the criteria for the clinic. Mueller estimated the county had about 200 doses of each remaining Monday night.
While the clinic opened at 10 a.m., a line had already begun to form inside the Armory about an hour before it was to open so workers started the vaccinations a half-hour early.
The wait times were relatively short and the process was smooth and orderly.
"I'm very pleased we didn't have huge, long lines but on the other hand, I had hoped we had given more vaccine than we were able to today," said Mueller.
Kari Folk, who works at Heartsfilled daycare in south Brainerd, showed up to get the FluMist because she has four infants at the daycare.
"I'm protecting the babies, just like I do everyday," said Folk.
Alaisha Johnson (left) held her daughter, Zoey, in an infant carrier as she and Leesa Roach, holding her daughter, Novalee, stood in line at the H1N1 flu immunization clinic Monday at the Brainerd Armory. The clinic was only for infants ages 6-35 months and parents, household members and caregivers of infants younger than 6 months.
Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Carli Gilbertson, Brainerd, brought her 23-month-old son, Mason. While her son was getting the injection, she was getting the FluMist because she also works at a daycare.
"I thought everyone would be panicky and get here early," said Gilbertson. "We had this planned out that we'd get here early."
Gilbertson's friend, Patrice Foster, got her 9-month-old daughter, Lila, vaccinated Monday. The Brainerd mom said she'd been anxious to get Lila vaccinated against the H1N1 virus and had hoped she didn't get sick before it was available.
"It's nothing like I thought," Foster said of waiting in line. "I thought I'd have to wait in my car."
A rural Pequot Lakes mother of four, including a 3-month-old baby girl, brought all her children to the clinic at 7:45 a.m. but since no one was there, they left to run some errands before returning so everyone, excluding the baby, got the H1N1 vaccine.
"I didn't want to chance missing it," she said.
Ayden Bednarek shut his eyes as Jeanne Thull, a Crow Wing County Public Health nurse, administered a dose of the H1N1 nasal spray vaccine Monday at the Brainerd Armory. Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
While the mother had two opportunities to get the vaccine at Lakewood Health System in Staples, she had been debating whether or not she and her older children would get the vaccine but then decided it was important for the baby, who could not receive it.
"I'm sure the president got it. I'm sure he gave it to his kids," she said. "I guess I figure our lives are in God's hands."
Carol Tauzell of Brainerd rocked her great-grandson, Cayden, 6 weeks, in his carseat while his parents, Felicia Maddux and Daniel Schultes, got the FluMist vaccine. Tauzell said she'd been terribly worried about Cayden getting sick and told her granddaughter about the H1N1 clinic when she heard about it.
Mueller said county public health and hospital officials will be meeting either Wednesday or Thursday to determine what group will be targeted next for administering the rest of the vaccine shipment. She said it's possible a clinic for pregnant women only will be held early next week. She said the county is expected to receive another H1N1 vaccine shipment sometime next week so clinics will be ongoing.
Mueller said the county will update its flu hotline later this week, probably on Thursday, about any other scheduled H1N1 clinics. The Dispatch also will publish this information.
Crow Wing County's 24-hour flu hotline may be accessed at 822-7022.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.