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Washington Co. Health Dept. gets some H1N1 vaccine

October 09, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The Washington County Health Department is determining the best way to distribute 400 doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine that the state government delivered Tuesday, Rod MacRae, health department spokesman, said Friday.

The initial number of doses of vaccine the Health Department received was a fraction of the amount it hopes to obtain, MacRae said.

"We got 400 doses," he said. "We had ordered 8,000."

MacRae said the health department probably would give the available doses, which are in nasal spray form, to health care providers because they need to stay healthy in order to treat the sick.

"We're working on the plan for that now," he said.

The health department anticipates that the next batch of the vaccine should come in "any day," MacRae said. The distribution, which began last week, is being handled by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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MacRae said the health department already has administered 2,000 doses of the seasonal flu vaccine.

Those vaccines were administered last month during flu clinics at North Hagerstown, South Hagerstown, Boonsboro and Clear Spring high schools. People were charged a $20 fee if they didn't have Medicare to cover the cost.

MacRae said health department officials are waiting to receive an additional 4,000 doses of the seasonal flu vaccine that were part of the original order.

"We're basically at a standstill with seasonal flu, as well," MacRae said. "This, for some people, has been a frustrating experience."

MacRae said the health department might combine H1N1 and seasonal flu clinics to administer the vaccines together.

"We're trying to get it out to the public as soon as possible," MacRae said. "The question has been the timing of the distribution."

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