County handles priority vaccinations
Five months after the World Health Organization declared an influenza pandemic, the Mesa County Health Department says it has vaccinated enough health care workers to handle the situation, according to a news release issued by the department Wednesday.
The department also indicated more vaccine for the masses will be available soon.
“We are anticipating within the next week or so we can start expanding to the priority groups (who are designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to receive the vaccine first),” said Kristy Emerson, spokeswoman for the Mesa County Health Department. “We are still going to be strategic, and we are still going to go after those priority groups.”
The health department said so many front-line health care providers have been vaccinated “that a medical work force can take care of those with influenza and reduce the risk of passing influenza to patients.”
The Health Department continues to vaccinate subsets of the priority groups with the 10,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine it has received. It has targeted people in each priority group that it considers most at-risk of contracting H1N1.
Emerson said any plans to ramp up vaccinations in Mesa County are dependent on the supply of vaccine.
“This is all dependent on the type and the quantity of the vaccine which we receive, which we don’t have control over,” she said.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the state has received 250,000 H1N1 doses and needs an estimated 2 million more just for those in the priority groups established by the CDC.
The Mesa County Health Department is accepting appointments to vaccinate children between the ages of 6 months and 35 months. To schedule an appointment, call 683-6636 or visit http://www.health.mesacounty.us.