Despite short lines and wait times under 30 minutes at this past weekend's flu clinic, it doesn't appear the h1n1 vaccination will be available to the general public anytime soon. Today the Douglas County Health Department announced a couple more clinics.
A mother of four young children, Beth Dendinger has seen her share of sick kids. "It was a week long adventure of fever and not feeling well. That's why I do want to get it taken care of sooner rather than later," she says.
She hasn't vaccinated her children for h1n1 but wants to. "It's a strong concern. The flu scares me the fact that there are deaths especially in the area," says Dendinger.
What she doesn't want is to spend her weekend in some of the flu clinic lines she has seen. "To hold four crying children at the same time, I have done it before but it's hard," she says.
This past Saturday, The Douglas County Health Department vaccinated over 34 hundred people at a down town clinic. "I thought it was great. It was a wonderful place to have a clinic. It was great venue; I think the top of the wait was 90 minutes that was at the beginning. There were times during the day it was fifteen minutes to get in and get vaccinated," says Phil Rooney of the Douglas County Health Department.
The short lines have prompted some to wonder if the h1n1 clinics will become an option for the general public, not just those at high risk. “We're hoping about four weeks down the line basically. We have about a half million people in the county to get vaccinated in the target population. Obviously everyone won't get the vaccination although we would like to see them do that. But that is something we're planning for, we don't see that much vaccine coming in yet but we have another allotment coming today so we're getting closer," says Rooney.
Dendinger says, she would like the vaccine too, but with four kids under six years old, the lines better be short. "If it was fast and I knew I could get in and out with all four of them, yeah I would definitely go!”
According to the Sarpy/Cass County health officials, there hasn't been any talk about opening up the h1n1 clinics to the general public. The soonest they foresee would be around the end of December.
This Saturday there will be h1n1 clinic at South High, 24th and “J” and runs from 9-2pm.
Saturday December 5th there will be a clinic at Omaha Creighton Prep from 9am-1pm.
In order to keep people from having to wait longer than necessary, health officials will now assess how many people are still in line one hour before each clinic closes