Massive H1N1 vaccination held in San Francisco

December 22, 2009 8:04:08 PM PST
Thousands of San Franciscans rolled up their sleeves hoping to get an H1N1 flu shot.

San Francisco is in the final stages of a massive day long anti-flu operation. The city is trying to vaccinate 16,000 high risk residents against the H1N1 virus and the shots are being given for free.

At the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the mass vaccination clinic went all day until 7 p.m. The clinic was aiming for 16,000 vaccinations, but they only gave away fewer than 7,000 by 5 p.m.

The line about standing in one spot and watching the world pass by, seemed to apply to the auditorium on Tuesday.

When asked how long Rozelle Mosely had been waiting for her grandsons' flu shot, one of the grandsons, Najay replied, "two hours."

The Mosely family was certainly not alone as San Francisco Department of Public Health prepared 16,000 doses of H1N1 flu vaccine.

"It's always easier to prevent a disease than to treat it," said San Francisco Director of Pubic Health Dr. Mitchell Katz.

It may have looked like a maze, but in fact, it was a massive, organized, vaccination assembly line.

First people would do the paperwork, then be divided into treatment groups, then there was a line of volunteers loading syringes. However, the day's clinic went faster, and more smoothly, than anyone imagined.

Those eligible for the vaccine are:

  • Pregnant women
  • All people from 6 months through 24 years of age
  • People who live with or provide care for infants less than 6 months of age
  • Healthcare and emergency responders with direct patient contact
  • Adults ages 25-64 with medical conditions that put them at risk for complications from influenza (heart, lung or kidney disease, asthma, diabetes, or weakened immune system)
  • Children less than 10 years old needing their second dose of H1N1 vaccine (first dose of vaccine must have been received before December 1)

There were over 400 volunteers at the auditorium to help the public health department reaches its goal. There has been a very long line in front of the auditorium all day.

"We have lots of nose spray and we are hoping to get as many people qualified as possible, it's quicker, it's easier and any healthy person under the age of 49 can get it," said Eileen Shields of the Public Health Department.

For more information about H1N1 and vaccine updates, visit www.sfcdcp.org/flu or call 311.


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