surround H1N1 vaccine
A good portion of the Ripley County Council
meeting held October 19 was devoted to granting appropriations
for the health department, as requested by Pat Thomas, administrator
for the county health department.
The money, which comes from federal funds, was appropriated for
Thomas for operating, supplies and equipment as the H1N1 vaccine
gets in full swing.
We are told we will get enough (of the vaccine) for everybody...eventually,
Thomas told the council.
Right now medical providers are receiving the first round of the
vaccine that has been delivered to Ripley County, according to
Thomas. Ripley County Emergency Management Director Wayne Peace
received the first vaccine.
Thomas explained that there is a priority list of who gets the
vaccine and when. Its a process, she noted,
asking the public for patience as they get the vaccines to everyone
who wants it as quick as we can.
Consent forms have been sent to area schools with more than a
65% return of parents saying they want their child to be vaccinated,
according to Thomas.
Some people are leery about the vaccine, especially the live
nasal spray variety. This particular vaccine is described by the
Center for Disease Control or CDC as a live, attenuated
intranasal vaccine...that is sprayed into the nose.
They further note that this vaccine does not contain thimerosal
or other preservatives and is licensed for people from age 2 through
49. The CDC says, The vaccine virus is attenuated (weakened)
so it will not cause illness.
Who should get the live vaccine?
The recommendation from the CDC for those needing to be vaccinated
with the live virus are those from the age of 2 through 24 years
of age. Also, it is recommended for those who are from 25 through
49 years of age and live with or care for infants younger than
six months or are health care or emergency medical personnel.
They say as more vaccines become available, other healthy 25-49
year olds should also be vaccinated.
While the information that is projected from every media outlet
on a daily basis becomes confusing, the CDC says that certain
groups of people should not get the live vaccine including pregnant
women, people with long-term health problems, and children from
age six months to two years of age. They do say it is important
that the above group of people be vaccinated and should get the
What are the risks of the live vaccine?
The Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease
Control and Prevention had this to say:
A vaccine, like any medicine, could cause a serious problem,
such as a severe allergic reaction. But the risk of any vaccine
causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.
Some mild problems have been reported in children ages 2-17 such
as a runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, headache, muscle aches,
abdominal pain, occasional vomiting or diarrhea, fever, and wheezing.
The CDC reports that adults ages 18-49 have reported some of the
same symptoms, along with cough, chills, tiredness, weakness,
sore throat and headaches.
If severe problems from the vaccine occurs, the CDC says it is
very rare and is usually within a few minutes to a few hours following
receipt of the vaccination.
What if there is a severe reaction?
People are advised that signs of a severe allergic reaction can
include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness,
weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness.
You are advised to call a doctor right away if these symptoms
do occur. Also it is advised that you ask your provider of the
vaccine to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System form,
or you can file this yourself by going online at www.vaers.hhs.gov
or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
What about the inactivated flu shot?
The vaccines for the H1N1 influenza also come in the form of an
inactivated vaccine, meaning the vaccine has killed virus in it.
It is given in shot form, much like the regular seasonal flu shot,
injected into the muscle.
The CDC says the inactive flu shot for the H1N1 virus is expected
to be as safe and effective as the seasonal flu vaccines. They
also note that this particular vaccine will not prevent influenza-like
illnesses caused by other viruses. In other words, they will not
prevent the seasonal flu. You should also be vaccinated for the
seasonal flu as well as the H1N1 type.
Who should get the inactive flu shot?
The CDC says pregnant women, people who live with or care for
infants younger then six months of age, health care and emergency
medical personnel, and anyone from six months through 24 years
of age. They also recommend anyone who is 25 through 64 years
of age with certain chronic medical conditions or a weakened immune
It is recommended as the vaccine becomes available that healthy
25-64 year olds receive the vaccination as well as adults 65 years
and older. Basically, the recommendation is that eventually nearly
everyone should receive some form of the vaccine, according to
If you have a life-threatening allergy to eggs or to any other
substance in the vaccine, you should not get it. You should tell
your provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction after
receiving a dose of the season flu vaccine, have Guillain Barre
Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness also called GBS), or if you
are moderately or severely ill, you might be advised to wait until
you are better before receiving the vaccine.
What does smoking have to do with the H1N1 virus?
The Indiana Department of Health issued this statement, Persons
that smoke are more likely to suffer from the flu than nonsmokers.
If you are a smoker, now is a good time to quit, encouraged
local health director Pat Thomas. For free help from a trained
Quit Coach you can call 1-800-Quit-Now.
Quitting smoking is one of the best preventative measures
against pandemic H1N1 influenza virus, not only for you but for
anyone, children, family members, and roommates, that may live
with you, noted information from the state health department.
They provide statistics that say within 20 minutes after quitting
smoking your heart rate drops. It gets better from there, and
within 12 hours the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops
to normal. Within 15 years after quitting the habit, the risk
of coronary heart disease is back to that of a nonsmokers.
All of the additional appropriations, 11 in total, concerning
appropriating money for the H1N1 vaccines were unanimously approved
by the Ripley County Council.
Thomas said her office has had numerous calls and wants the public
to know they are working very diligently to get the vaccine to
those who want it. It will just come in waves. She said as soon
as a clinic is set up for the general public they
will be notified. Were trying to keep people as informed
as possible, she noted, saying sometimes that is hard to
do when you dont know whats happening on the state
Its been a challenge trying to plan to distribute
the vaccine as the amount we are told we will be receiving changes
frequently, Thomas said. She said they are told they will
be receiving the vaccine weekly. Dr. Robinson, Ripley County Health
Board President noted, The bright side of this is, that
we are actually receiving some vaccine much earlier than first
You can learn more about the H1N1 virus and vaccine by calling
1-800-232-4636 or visit the CDCs website at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu
According to Thomas, a local hotline is being set up. As soon
as that number becomes available, it will be published.
Vicky Powell, Ripley County Health Nurse,
gives the very first H1N1 vaccine shot to Wayne Peace, emergency
management director for the county. The first wave of vaccines
are being given to health care providers but eventually
the county expects to have enough for everyone that wants
signs of H1N1 virus
In children, the emergency signs include fast or troubled breathing,
bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, not waking up or
not interacting, being so irritable the child doesnt even
want to be held, flu-like symptoms improve, but then return with
fever and a worsened cough, and a fever with a rash.
Adults could also experience difficulty with breathing, pain or
pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion
and severe or persistent vomiting.
It is not recommended that people go to the emergency room if
they are only a little sick. However, if you have the above emergency
warning signs you should go to the emergency room.
If you get sick with flu symptoms and are a high risk of flu complications
it is recommended you call your health care provider for advise.
The CDC says if you go to the emergency room and are not sick
with the flu, you might catch it from being around people in the
emergency room who do have the virus.
Some parents are asking how long children should stay home if
they are sick with the flu. The CDC recommends that all infected
should stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone
except to get medical care. The fever needs to be gone without
the use of a fever-reducing medicine. You should stay home from
any social event where you are interacting with others.
Flu symptoms can include a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or
stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue and sometimes
diarrhea and vomiting. Not everyone with the flu will run a fever.
Parting words of advice throughout the whole flu season this year
is to be vigilant, watch for signs, dont be afraid to call
your doctor or go to the emergency room if warranted, and wash
your hands - wash your hands - wash your hands.