Flu experts to offer advice
6News will provide a special program, “H1N1: The Truth About Swine Flu,” at 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. today on Sunflower Broadband Channel 6.
The 30-minute program will feature three panelists: Charlie Hunt, state epidemiologist; Dr. Terrance Riordan, a Lawrence pediatrician; and Dr. Lee Norman, Kansas University Hospital’s chief medical officer.
The program will include a variety of topics, including how the H1N1 virus compares to previous ones, how to protect yourself against the virus, whether you should get the vaccination, and what measures to take if you get sick.
The show also will air at 8 p.m. Sept. 29, Oct. 7, Oct. 15, Oct. 23 and Oct. 27. The show will be available on Video On Demand from Sunflower Broadband.
The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is gearing up to provide the novel H1N1 vaccine to the community.
Dan Partridge, health department director, expects the department to receive its first shipment — about 500 doses — in the first full week of October and then speculates the department will receive weekly shipments.
By October’s end, he estimates, the department will have received between 20,000 and 30,000 doses, which will be based on the county’s population. The department will serve as the traffic cop for distribution of the vaccine, which will be provided by itself, private practices and clinics.
The department has scheduled four community clinics in October at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds. The clinics will be from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 28, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 29-30, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 31.
The department will provide the vaccine for no cost and will give them only to those who are most at risk of getting the H1N1 virus.
That high-risk group includes: pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel, people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and people between the ages of 25 and 64 years who have chronic health conditions.
Partridge expects the vaccine to be available to the general public in December, and he doesn’t expect a shortage. Everyone is encouraged to get the vaccine unless they have had a confirmed case of H1N1, but it is not mandated. CDC has reported about 10,000 hospitalizations and 600 deaths nationwide related to H1N1. There have been two deaths in Kansas.
“It doesn’t hurt to get the shot unless you have been one of the few who have had a true confirmatory test done. You might as well be safe than sorry,” Partridge said.
The department is working on scheduling other community clinics in Lawrence and surrounding cities during late October and in November. It is looking for volunteers to help at the clinics. They need anyone from health care professionals to people who can help provide directions and run errands.
The department will get $168,000 from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for the planning phase — phase 1 and 2 — of H1N1 emergency preparedness. It expects to obtain more funding for operations and administering the vaccine. Partridge estimates the department’s H1N1 expenses to be about $300,000 for this year.
For more information about the clinics or to volunteer, call the department at 843-0721 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, 6News will be airing a special program called “H1N1: The Truth About Swine Flu” at 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. today on Sunflower Broadband Channel 6.