Thousands get H1N1 shots in Petaluma

October 24, 2009 5:01:42 PM PDT
Across the Bay Area, one of the few places to get the swine flu vaccine is in Sonoma County. Thousands of people showed up at one clinic there on Saturday.

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The instructions were lengthy, but not as long as the line. Thousands waited outside Casa Grande High School in Petaluma for the coveted H1N1 vaccine. The Sonoma County Public Health Department received 7,000 doses on Friday. On Saturday, people waited for close to three hours for their shot.

"It reflects peoples' concern about this new flu virus. We know it is attacking more people than regular seasonal flu virus," said Public Health Officer Mark Netherda.

30 to 40 percent of Americans are expected to get swine flu this year. Normally, only 5 to 20 percent get the seasonalflu. Since there is still a national shortage of vaccines available, health officers here are vaccinating those who are 6-months to 24-years-old, pregnant, caregivers of babies under 6-months-old, health care workers, and adults ages 24 to 64 with chronic medical conditions.

Parent Diana Barr told ABC7, "If they'll give it to me, yeah I'd love to have it."

Many do not qualify under the guidelines, but that did not stop some from trying to convince volunteers to give them the vaccine.

"I just informed them how I help out in Sofia's classroom and I thought it'd be a very good idea for me to be inoculated," said parent Steve Ryan. "It was important because they got everybody scared about this. So, it's kind of the unknown. Better safe than sorry."

Health officials admit that no one will be forcibly turned away, but they do hope healthy adults will wait a few weeks until the supply meets the demand. Roughly 2,000 doses will be left over after Saturday and that will be added to another shipment of 13,000 due in the next month. All of that will be used up at the next free clinic taking place on November 21st in Petaluma.

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