Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - 9:57am
School-Based Immunization Clinics to Resume January 19th
Dane County residents are encouraged to take advantage of the wide availability of H1N1 vaccine and get immunized. "H1N1 influenza does not come and go during the winter months like seasonal influenza. This virus has been present in Madison and Dane County since last spring and is likely to be here for some time to come. Even though December was relatively quiet, H1N1 could come roaring back, especially with schools back in session," said Dr. Thomas Schlenker, Director of Public Health Madison and Dane County. H1N1 vaccine is now available to anyone who wants the vaccine through local health care providers, pharmacies, public health and other community organizations.
New data from the Wisconsin Division of Health suggests a need to focus particular attention on immunizing racial and ethnic minorities. The data shows that during the fall, when reports of H1N1 infection were high throughout Wisconsin, state hospitalization rates were 2-3 times higher among minority populations than among non-Hispanic whites. In Dane County the disparity for African Americans was even greater with a rate 9 times higher than for non-Hispanic whites. For Hispanics the rate was 2 times higher.
There are many factors that may account for this disparity including lack of access to health care, being uninsured or having underlying health conditions. This population may be less likely to get immunized. In the upcoming weeks,
public health and its partners will be outreaching to these populations to promote immunization, and provide information on how to stay healthy and what to do if you are sick.
In addition, beginning next Tuesday, January 19 and for the following three weeks, Public Health will be returning to the schools to resume the H1N1 vaccination program, which was interrupted last fall due to vaccine shortages. Parents of school children in specific schools in Madison and Dane County will soon be receiving information from their school, if they haven't already done so. More information on school clinics is on the Public Health website at http://www.publichealthmdc.com/disease/swineflu/K12/clinics.cfm Parents can also call the Public Health Madison and Dane County flu line at 243-0555 with any questions they have regarding these clinics.
Information about H1N1 vaccination opportunities is available from United Way 2-1-1 Wisconsin Flu Clinic Locator at http://www.wisconsinfluclinic.info, or call
- Jeffrey Golden, (608) 243-0302