City Worries Over Too Few H1N1 Vaccines

The Chicago Department of Health says 150,000 doses might not be enough

By Nicola Orichuia
|  Saturday, Oct 24, 2009  |  Updated 11:55 AM CDT
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City Worries Over Too Few H1N1 Vaccines

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Chicagoans can get the flu shot at one of six city college locations.

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As demand for the H1N1 vaccine grows, hospitals in Chicago and in the city’s suburbs are already fearing a shortage of vaccines.

The Chicago Health Department has so far received 150,000 doses of the vaccine, to be administered free to patients at designated locations. But health officials caution against a stampede.

"What we don't want to see is people storming these clinics for vaccine," said Terry Mason, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, during a press conference held on Friday.

The vaccine will therefore be administered only to so-called high-risk patients, such as children, pregnant women, the chronically ill and emergency medical service providers.

"We're setting down ground rules, and we're counting on people to do the right thing. We will take a common sense approach to this," he said.

The designated free clinics are located at Kennedy King, Olive Harvey, Richard J. Daley, Truman and Wright Colleges and the Arturo Velasquez Institute. Clinic hours are Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 8 p.m.

Suburban hospitals are also preparing strategies to deal with the high number of vaccine requests.

About 50 more than the average 150 people are showing up daily with flu symptoms at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, which has set up a special trailer to handle the flu patients, the Daily Herald reported.

Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield also reported a higher number of patients coming in with flu-like symptoms, even though most cases were not severe.

“Things are very busy but quite under control,” Amy Jo Steinbruecker, a hospital spokeswoman, told the Daily Herald.
 

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