H1N1 vaccine clinic causes frenzy in SJ

November 7, 2009 5:20:51 PM PST
Aside from the national health care issue, Americans are paying attention to another health issue, vaccinations for the H1N1 flu virus. Free flu shots and nasal spray were given out at health clinics around the Bay Area Saturday and it caused a bit of a frenzy.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you from ABC7 News

A free clinic at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose was supposed to have ended at 3:30 Saturday. But, there were still a lot of people in line at 4 p.m. with officials telling ABC7 vaccinations would continue until 5:00 or 5:30 p.m.

It was the largest availability of free swine flu vaccine in the county. The line for the coveted H1N1 vaccine stretched for blocks and took hours to get through.

"We got here around 8:30. So, it's been a long wait," Eddie Northrup of San Jose told ABC7.

The first people lined up at 3:00 a.m. The Public Health Department has 5,500 doses available for those considered "high risk" including: People aged 6-months-old to 24-years-old, pregnant women, caregivers of babies under 6-months-old, health care workers, and adults aged 24 to 64 with a chronic medical condition.

"I'm hoping I'm priority enough that I can get in and get my flu shot," one man was overheard saying to a woman standing in line.

Even with the high-risk parameters clearly spelled out, there are some who do not qualify still pushing to get the vaccine. But, that is not the only frustration brewing.

"Some of the people in line are suggesting that the San Jose Police Department bring more officers to control the line, so it'll stop people from cutting in and causing a lot of tempers to flare," said Tokieo King of San Jose.

Police stopped a number of people from line-jumping. One pregnant woman waited for five hours for the swine flu shot. In that time, she saw several people trying to move past her.

"It's frustrating," said Cheryl Lavery. "But, I think it's driven by the lack of vaccine in Santa Clara County. I think that's more the culprit."

The Santa Clara County Public Health officer admits the county, which is the largest in the Bay Area, had a delay in its vaccine shipments.

"We were not happy when we didn't get our vaccine with everybody else," said public health officer Marty Fenstersheib. "But, a lot of us and a lot of our elected, a number of people voiced their concern."

Now, the focus is on vaccinating as many people as quickly as possible.

"I would like to spend the whole day if I could save my baby from possible risk," said parent Yi Zhang.

More doses will arrive in the county next week and another free clinic will be held at the Clara County Fairgrounds next Sunday, November 15th.

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget


Load Comments