Thousands to go through “mass” H1N1 clinics

    Delaware steps up its vaccination program for those at risk of the H1N1 flu virus with the help of the federal government.

    About 3,000 vaccinations for those considered high risk for H1N1 are expected to be given over the weekend throughout Delaware.

    The so-called “mass” clinics are the nation’s first partnership between federal and state health agencies.

    “This is important because we are getting a large number of people who are at high risk for the complications of H1N1 vaccinated in a short period of time,” said Dr. Kevin Yeskey of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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    About 1,000 vaccinations were given Friday at Delaware Technical and Community College-Terry Campus in Dover. Other clinics are scheduled for the Delaware Tech-Stanton Campus in New Castle on Saturday and Delaware Tech-Owens in Georgetown on Sunday.

    Those considered to be at the highest risk for H1N1 are infants and children six months to 4 years of age; pregnant women; and those aged five to 64 with chronic conditions.

    So far, of the 1,791 H1N1 cases reported in Delaware, there have been five deaths and 13 hospitalizations, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health.

    And though the number of cases seems to be stabilizing, officials say the public should not get a false sense of security.

    “In the last three weeks we’ve actually seen the numbers going down,” said Rita Landgraf, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. “But this is not traditionally the flu season. So we are still reinforcing good hygiene practices as well as prevention through vaccination.”

    State-wide more than 87,000 vaccinations have been administered.

    Despite some concerns about the H1N1 vaccination, Dr. Yeskey says it is safe.

    “Yes, this is a safe, effective vaccine and it prevents the disease.”

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