Fenty Hopes Swine Flu Vaccination Plans Will Ease Rush

By Michael Laris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 16, 2009; 4:11 PM

Seeking to avoid a rush on District clinics after heavy demand for swine flu vaccinations around the region this week, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) on Friday outlined a series of immunization sessions starting Tuesday and told residents there's no reason to scurry.

District health officials have scheduled a dozen clinics that will cover pregnant women and young people, ages 6 months to 24 years old, to be held in all eight city wards from Oct. 20 through Nov. 14. Future clinics for other groups are being planned, but dates and locations are pending.

"There are going to be many, many sites available, and on multiple days, so that you don't have to feel you have to go and get in line on the first occasion that it's offered," Fenty said. There were long waits in Montgomery County this week, and the line for shots in Prince George's stretched out into the rain Thursday.

District officials Friday also addressed one of the region's first known vaccination foul-ups: 27 first responders being immunized by paramedics with the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services were injected with twice the proper dose of the swine flu vaccine, officials said. Officials said they are being monitored and none has had any problems.

"It's not a health risk for any of the employees," fire spokesperson Pete Piringer said.

A spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control, Tom Skinner, said, "The CDC is not aware of any side effects or dangers if someone were to get two doses when they were supposed to have gotten one."

There is no live virus in the H1N1 flu shot and the dosage is "more of what's necessary to elicit an immune response. If you get too much, we don't believe it's going to cause any kind of problem," Skinner said.

For young children 6 months to 35 months old, the initial dosage is 7.5 micrograms. Then they wait a month and get another 7.5 microgram shot, Skinner said.

Children three years through nine years old get a 15 microgram shot and wait a month before getting another 15 microgram shot. People 10 and older are supposed to get a single 15 microgram shot, Skinner said.

Paramedics are doing the vaccinations of fire, police and other essential personnel as part of a campaign to prepare ahead of any possible health emergency, Piringer said. About 1,000 people have been immunized so far under that program, he said.

Detailed plans for when and where to get vaccinated in the District and the rest of the Washington region can be found here.

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