About 17 percent of Douglas County residents have received the H1N1 flu vaccine.
As of Tuesday, 19,952 residents had received the vaccine through private providers, pharmacies or one of the 40 clinics offered by the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment was unable to provide information Tuesday on how many people were vaccinated in other Kansas counties.
Dan Partridge, director of the local health department, said he’s been pleased with the turnout and county efforts.
“It was a challenge that seemed overwhelming when we got into this, but we just kept taking small bites at it, and I am very proud of the response that staff and the community has had,” he said. “It’s taken hundreds of people to pull this off.”
It has taken a total of 2,959 hours of staff and volunteer time to provide the 40 H1N1 immunization clinics in Douglas County. That’s 123 days or 17 weeks.
Partridge said 49 percent of the time was provided by health department staff and another 44 percent was given by volunteers.
“The community has stepped up and really helped do this,” Partridge said.
And, it’s not over. The health department has scheduled its second all-day clinic from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 30 on the second floor of the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine.
The health department vaccinated 599 people at the first all-day clinic on Monday, and until the number is fewer than 200, Partridge said they will continue to have H1N1 clinics. Then, they will provide immunizations in the health department’s main clinic on the first floor.
Partridge said the incidence of flu-like illnesses in Douglas County has been steadily declining for the past seven weeks. In late October, 11.4 percent of all doctor office visits were related to influenza-like illness. Now, it’s at 1.5 percent.
Since Nov. 1, Lawrence Memorial Hospital has had three confirmed cases of Influenza A, but all tested negative for H1N1.
Still, Partridge recommends that people get an H1N1 vaccine if they haven’t already.
“We haven’t hit the seasonal flu peak yet and we don’t know whether H1N1 will increase at the same time or not,” he said.
“Right now, everyone’s getting on planes and we are seeing people who we haven’t seen in months, so we are in that mixing stage again with the holidays. We need to push through the fatigue of hearing about it and just make a New Year’s Resolution to get a flu shot.”