Children receive H1N1 vaccine at Health Department clinic

Thursday, October 29, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 6:50 a.m. CDT, Thursday, October 29, 2009
Susan Hagan, left, comforts her granddaughter as she prepares to get an H1N1 vaccine at Columbia/Boone County Public Health & Human Services on Wednesday. Margaret Hagan got special directions from the registered nurse about the way to hold her daughter during the flu shot.

COLUMBIA — Some parents waited as long as three hours Wednesday at the Health Department to get a free H1N1 vaccination for their small children.

This is the first clinic the Boone County/Columbia Department of Health and Human Services has held this flu season. Parents took numbers as they waited in line, and 330 vaccines were spoken for by 2 p.m.

The Health Department had 700 vaccines for the clinic and by the end of the day had administered the shot to more than 500 children, department spokeswoman Geni Alexander said. The clinic ran from 1 until 5 p.m.

The shots and nasal vaccine were offered to kids ages 6 months to 4 years.

Tiffany Heckart was one of the parents who stood in line for several hours with a  child.

“She’s doing well for not having a nap,” Heckart said of her daughter, Madison, 4.

Depending on the continued availability of the H1N1 vaccine, the Health Department will decide whether to hold future clinics, Alexander said. Missouri continues to receive less vaccine than originally expected.

The vaccine administered contains thimerosal, a preservative that is 49.6 percent mercury by weight, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Last week Missouri temporarily lifted the ban on young children and women who are pregnant receiving vaccine with preservative.

Signs around the Health Department reminded parents that the free vaccine did contain the preservative, and parents signed waivers of approval for the vaccine to be administered to their children.

As of Thursday, women who are pregnant can get the preservative-free vaccine at no charge, said Stephanie Boesen, a social worker at the Health Department. The vaccine will be available on a walk-in basis at 1005 W. Worley. Women who are pregnant can also choose the vaccine with the preservative.

People with questions about whether they should get the vaccination are encouraged to contact their physicians.

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