Contra Costa gets H1N1 vaccine

October 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
School kids in Contra Costa County will be able to get the swine flu vaccine, starting Thursday. The first doses of the nasal mist form are intended for children and younger adults. A look at how some churches are preparing to deal with the H1N1 virus.

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The first 7,000 doses are in and contra Costa County is ready to roll out 49 school based H1N1 vaccination clinics starting Thursday.

"The first round is designated for the healthy children. That's the first people we saw the cases in last spring, and that's where we expect to see the majority of cases again," said Communicable Disease Director Francie Wise.

By the end of October, Contra Costa expects to receive 100,000 doses. the next rounds will go to emergency and hospital workers, then to clinics for the poor and uninsured.

Kaiser hospitals report they will have a limited number of the nasal vaccines available in their pediatric clinics starting next Monday.

In the meantime, religious leaders gathered in Walnut Creek to learn all they can about keeping their congregations safe. Despite concerns, some churches don't plan to change their traditional hands-on approach.

At Grace Bible Fellowship in Antioch, the emphasis will be on good hygiene, not abandoning the human touch.

"A hug can make a world of difference in someone's life. So to prevent hugging or handshaking would be a very horrible thing, especially in a faith community," said nurse Sabrina Finklea-Strickland.

At Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill, there are hand sanitizers near the altar, but no plans yet to change traditional practices.

"When they say the Our Father, we reach out and everyone holds hands," said Gwen Watson from Christ the King Church.

Other Bay Area churches are taking steps to cut back on human contact during their services.

In San Jose, the Catholic Diocese imposed a temporary moratorium on hand-shaking.

At the very least, now that flu season is here, many other churches will move the hand sanitizer closer to the front door.

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