H1N1: The calm before the storm?

    Health officials are warning against complacency as the number of H1N1 cases declines.

    With the number of H1N1 cases declining nationally, health officials are urging people, especially parents, to take this lull in the impact of the virus to get themselves, and their children, vaccinated.

    U.S. Health and Human Service (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the virus has infected about 47-million Americans, with about 200,000 of those victims being hospitalized.  The CDC estimates that about 10,000 people have been killed in the U.S. from H1N1 complications, about 1,000 of those victims were children.  “This level of illness here in mid-December is much higher than normal for this time of year,” Sibelius says.  “We are at a critical moment in our response.”

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    Rear Admiral Dr. Stephen Redd at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says while the fall wave of H1N1 cases may be dwindling, there’s still a sizable population that is at high risk for the virus, but have not been vaccinated.  “There is really an opportunity to achieve protection through vaccination for the winter months.”

    Delaware Governor Jack Markell (D) is doing his part to encourage state residents to get vaccinated.  He’s teamed up with a PBS cartoon charcter, “Sid the Science Kid” to record a PSA explaining the vaccine and urging viewers to get it.  Markell says residents have been responding to state’s call for vaccinations.  “While it’s positive that we have administered 190,000 doses, including 42,000 to children, the fact is that we’ve got to keep the momentum going.”

    This week, the state will host the second round of mass vaccination clinics in all three counties.  Vaccinations will be offered by appointment at Delaware Technical and Community College’s Terry campus in Dover on Tuesday, December 15.  On December 16, vaccines will be available at Del Tech’s Owens campus in Georgetown, and at the Stanton campus in New Castle County on Thursday, December 16.

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