People don't normally line up for shots.
But Saturday's free clinics for H1N1 vaccines at six City Colleges around Chicago drew lines 90 minutes before officials even opened for business.
It was indication of the national emergency that President Obama declared for H1N1, or swine flu, in his weekly radio address.
Only those with a high risk for flu or complications are being asked to get the vaccines now, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health. Those include pregnant women, children between the ages of 6 months and 24, people with babies under 6 months and those with conditions like diabetes, asthma or heart disease.
Angelo Tufano, 22, was angry he and his 14-year-old brother Dominic were turned away from Wright College after the health department ran out of shots. Tufano says he has asthma and his brother has a precancerous condition. “I don’t see it as fair,” Tufano told the paper. “People who are dying from this have an underlying health condition.”
Tim Hadac, spokesman for the Health department, said a “very small percentage” may not have been in a high-risk category but that they were working on a honor system.
“If someone’s standing in front of you, saying ‘Please protect me from disease,’ and they’ve been standing in line two hours, you don’t want to refuse them,” Hadac told the Sun-Times. “You’re not just protecting that person but everyone they come in contact with.”
Vaccines will be available every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 8 p.m. at Truman, Wright,Kennedy-King, Olive Harvey and Richard J. Daley colleges and at Arturo Velasquez Institute. Appointments are not being accepted.