Health Department not yet releasing H1N1 vaccine to general population

Unlike other health departments across the state, the Bear River Health Department does not have a surplus of H1N1 vaccine at this time and will not be opening clinics to the general public just yet.”We have given or allocated all of the vaccine we have received to the five CDC high risk populations and actually need thousands more to meet the current demand.” said Lloyd Berentzen, Director of the Bear River Health Department. “It is inappropriate for us to assume that everyone who would like to receive an H1N1 vaccine would be able to attend a health department clinic.” He continued “The CDC challenged us to get in the path of the high priority groups. For that reason we set up schools as one place to disseminate the vaccine in hopes of reaching one of our largest high risk groups.”On average there has been about a 60% participation rate in the schools. Additionally the department has disseminated vaccine to hospitals, clinics, Dr.’s offices, Utah State, and emergency medical service personnel in Cache, Box Elder, and Rich counties. To date over 30,000 doses have been distributed. “We want to make sure that all of those at highest risk for getting this disease and suffering from complications have an opportunity to get the vaccine.” said Keith Larsen, Emergency Services Director, Bear River Health Department. “All indicators say we are not yet there. There is still a demand in high risk groups for vaccine locally.”The Bear River Health Department has provided the first round of vaccine to all elementary school age children in the health district and many secondary schools with plans to reach all of them. In the coming week the department will be going back to elementary schools to provide second doses. Additionally the department is working to reach preschool age children and those with chronic health conditions. Physician’s offices, Utah State and hospitals continue to request the vaccine. For the most current information on H1N1 vaccine availability please visit www.brhd.org or follow them on Twitter @bearriverhealth

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