|H1N1 Flu Facts|
Dr. Stewart Hamilton, Chief Medical Officer at Yuma Regional Medical Center, discusses when people should visit the emergency room, when they should stay home, and what precautions should be taken to prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu.
|H1N1 Flu vaccine clinic|
Residents packed the Southgate Mall Wednesday morning for an H1N1 vaccination clinic sponsored by Yuma County Public Health Services District. Video by Stephanie Wilken and Olivia Henze-Goldberg
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Residents crowd mall for H1N1 flu clinic
Instead of going straight home from the overnight shift when she got off work Wednesday morning, Yuman Alice Caudillo went to stand in line at the Southgate Mall.
But Caudillo wasn't there to get a head start on shopping, she was there to hold a place in line to make sure her two granddaughters received an H1N1 vaccination at a clinic Wednesday.
And Caudillo was one of the first in line at 8:10 a.m.
She was one of hundreds of Yuma County residents who came out to stand in line Wednesday for an H1N1 vaccination clinic sponsored by Yuma County Public Health Services District.
The vaccination clinic began at 10 a.m. and was open to any county resident in tier 1 of the recommended risk category, which includes pregnant women, children age 6 months to 4 years old, health care workers with direct patient care, people who live with and care for infants less than 6 months old, and ages 5 to 18 with chronic medical conditions.
Health care workers at the clinic offered 1,000 doses of the inactivated influenza vaccine, also known as the flu shot, and 800 doses of the live attenuated influenza vaccines, also known as the flu mist - and it was free for Yuma County residents.
And by Wednesday afternoon, county health officials said that more than 800 people had received vaccinations.
Caudillo's daughter, Omelisa Caudillo, said she wanted to get her daughters vaccinated because of their ages, 9 and 6, and because of recent reported cases in the area.
She said she feels it's a 50-50 chance with the vaccine.
"Darned if you do, darned if you don't," she said.
Alice Caudillo said with people sick at her workplace, she's sure she's already been exposed to it.
"And I'd rather my granddaughters not get it," she said.
Yuma mom Elizabeth Martinez was in line Wednesday with husband Joaquin and their children Joaquin, 9, Mia, 6 and infant Sophia, but since she was under 6 months old, she wasn't going to get a vaccine this time, Martinez said.
Martinez said she heard about the clinic through the newspaper, and they decided to bring their children out because they feared an outbreak of the H1N1 virus.
"We just want to keep our kids safe," she said.
Mike Lebrum, who helps coordinate logistics for the H1N1 clinics for the health district, said with about 25 to 30 workers, and planning since August, the hardest part of the clinic was the line. But, by the time people got to the front of the line, they'd already been pre-screened and were ready to receive the shot.
But with the state dispersing the vaccine based on population and county officials only receiving limited shipments about once a week, Lebrum said it's likely they would run out of vaccines by Wednesday afternoon.
And not everyone is eligible, with just people in tier 1 allowed to receive the shot this round.
"Unfortunately, we're going to have to tell some people here no today," he said. "There's just no way around it."
But with another clinic scheduled for Oct. 28 at the same time and location, other Yuma County residents in the tier 1 risk category will have the opportunity to receive the H1N1 vaccine.
At this time, the county has not scheduled additional clinics, but officials have previously said they hope to include people in tier 2 and tier 3 in the future.
Tier 2 includes all health care and emergency medical services personnel, all people from 6 months old to 24 years old, people age 25 to 64 years old who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications. Examples include diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease.
Tier 3 includes all other people requesting vaccination.
"Our goal is eventually to get everybody covered in Yuma County," Lebrum said.
And, he said with more Yuma County residents receiving vaccinations, it will hopefully curb any potential outbreak of the H1N1 virus.
"It'll (help) stop the spread," he said. "Nobody can get it if everybody's inoculated."
Omelisa Caudillo said even though she thought getting her daughters vaccinated could go either way, she was ready to take that chance.
"We'd rather be safe than sorry."
Stephanie A. Wilken can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857.