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Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Flu vaccine expected to be plentiful

By Shelley Grieshop
WAPAKONETA - What a difference a year makes.
Last year, people waited in long lines at schools and other public places to get H1N1 flu vaccines. This year's "all in one" dose - with protection from H1N1 flu and two other strains of seasonal flu - is expected to be plentiful.
"Many people will be getting H1N1 (flu vaccine) for the first time this year," Cindy Jones, director of nursing at the Auglaize County Health Department, told board members meeting Tuesday. "This is an opportunity for those people to get the vaccine early on."
In late 2009, H1N1 vaccine was scarce and initially given only to those considered "high risk," such as pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses. But even though the peak of Ohio's flu season is still a few months away, flu clinics already have been held at grocery stores and other public locations. Auglaize and Mercer county health departments have scheduled their first flu clinics in October.
Health officials say supplies should be more than adequate this year. Since Aug. 27, vaccine manufacturers have released 67 million doses of flu vaccine and project production to hit 165 million doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Everyone over 6 months old can get vaccinated this year, unlike the limitations set last year, Jones told the board. The only obstacle this year has been a delay in some children's flu vaccines due to improper labeling by the manufacturer. However, no shortages are expected, she added.
"It should be released in plenty of time," Jones said.
In other business, health commissioner Charlotte Parsons informed the board the city of Wapakoneta is planning a power outage beginning midnight Oct. 10 for approximately eight hours. City officials recently built a new substation and must shut down the power to make the transfer, she explained.
She told board members she is concerned the power interruption could be a problem for the refrigerated vaccines and the agency's computer system.
"I don't think we can rent a generator big enough to handle this," she said.
Other board members suggested contacting the city or other municipalities for help. Parsons said she would seek further information before proceeding.
Board members also:
• Approved a seven-day order for Faith Harrod, 406 S. Kuhlman St., New Knoxville, to provide proof her dog was vaccinated for rabies. The dog reportedly bit someone.
The board also approved a similar order to Melissa Harper, 227 Northway Drive, St. Marys, after her pit bull allegedly bit someone.
• Learned the "Healthy U" six-class series will begin Oct. 18 at the Auglaize County Council on Aging in Wapakoneta, 23 E. Auglaize St. Classes will be held Mondays and Fridays.
• Learned county health educator Janet Bassitt was selected to do a presentation on the Auglaize Teen Yellow Pages (an online resource for youths) at the Health Educators' Institute meeting in October.
• Approved the resignation of Therese Howard as a home health aide, effective Aug. 16. The board also approved full-time status for Diane Bender, effective, Sept. 16, to fill Howard's position.
• Approved submission of the following grant applications: $197,329 for the WIC program; and $47,680 for the Immunization Assistance Program.
• Approved the following notices of awards: $35,578, stimulus money for the Help Me Grow program; and $178,105 from a Public Health Emergency Preparedness grant.
• Held an executive session to discuss personnel benefits but took no action.
• Learned the next board meeting is 8:30 a.m. Oct. 12.
Additional online story on this date
Area farmers have begun harvesting corn and soybeans about two to three weeks early and the timetable may be financially beneficial.
Low moisture content in the crops will save growers money in drying costs and market prices are higher than normal right now, local ag officials say. [More]
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