Broward preparing for H1N1 vaccination for all residents
Broward County officials will be identifying locations the local health department can use to dispense H1N1 flu vaccines, starting possibly in October, to the general public. As part of a Community Readiness Initiative, cities and counties across the country are preparing for a mass vaccination, starting with emergency personnel and first responders as well as other medical personnel that would be dispensing the vaccine.
According to the Florida Dept. of Health(DOH) records, as of Aug. 26, 2009, Florida has had 605 hospitalizations related to H1N1 and 66 deaths. Broward County has had 62 hospitalizations, seven deaths and at least 300 cases of H1N1.
During Tuesday’s commission meeting, Broward’s DOH director, Paula Thaqi, requested that county administrator Bertha Henry be given permission to help the department identify sites for distribution.
According to county documents, 13 park sites have already been identified and others are being considered. At least nine other local cities have identified sites, said Thaqi. And while commissioners were willing to have sites named, they expressed concerns about paying the Broward Sheriff’s Office overtime to staff the vaccine sites to protect them.
“Our budget is straining and H1N1 is a three week process—they have to take a second shot,” said Broward Mayor Stacy Ritter. “That’s six weeks of guarding the vaccination which will contribute to the sheriff’s overtime budget. I don’t know how we can possibly do it.”
Commissioner Sue Gunzburger proposed contacting the state and federal congresspeople to get federal dollars for the process.
“There is a mass vaccination program happening potentially in October, and all residents and visitors will be offered the opportunity,” said Thaqi in explaining the process and what will be required of local governments. “There will be opportunity for public points of distribution as well—through doctors, retail, pharmacies as well, but there are security needs related to the vaccine and potentially if there’s a large distribution.”
Thaqi also said there is a third readiness initiative that ties into this situation—using the process as a testing ground for readiness in preparing for a bioterrorist attack and needing vaccines/antibiotics distributed to large populations quickly. She did say to get reiumbursement from the federal government for dollars spent, the governor would have to declare a state of emergency.
Commissioners encouraged Thaqi and Henry to look into pursuing options to get funding for security during the distribution.
- Another H1N1 vaccination clinic opens in Broward
- Health officials releasing details on H1N1 vaccine Friday
- First Broward general public H1N1 vaccine clinic opens Nov. 30
- H1N1 in Broward – by the numbers
- CDC recalling some pediatric H1N1 vaccine shots
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