H1N1 clinic cancelled

After scheduling an H1N1 vaccination clinic aimed to serve members of high-risk groups living in Ames, for Oct. 21, Homeward, the branch of Mary Greeley Medical Center that administers public health services in Story County, was forced to cancel the clinic on the morning of its expected holding due to vaccine shortages. Since its outbreak, the H1N1 virus has been a topic of much concern for Ames and communities everywhere. A bright spot came on Sept. 15 when the FDA approved a vaccine to treat the potentially lethal virus. However, the process for distributing the vaccine is taking longer than expected and shortages are cropping up. As a result, many high-risk groups, including people between the age of 6 months and 24 years, pregnant women, and seniors, have not had access to the vaccine. Many communities, including Ames, have been negatively affected by problems involved with distribution of the vaccine. Although the clinic was to be held at Ames High School and Ames Middle School, the Ames Community School District had no control over the unfortunate cancellation. "Ames School District is only responsible for providing the venues for the vaccination clinics and the communications with district families. The management of the clinics, administration of vaccine and record keeping are wholly and completely the responsibility of Homeward," said Valerie Terando, Director of School, Community and Media Relations for Ames Community School District. "I received a call from the director of Homeward [on the morning of Oct. 21], about 6 or 7 hours before the clinic was scheduled to begin, informing me that there was simply not enough vaccine with which to hold a clinic that afternoon,"Terando explained. "After informing superintendent Dr. Linda Beyea of the cancellation, I enacted a communications plan to inform staff, families and the community at large of the cancellation." So what reason was behind the unexpected vaccine shortage ? "Shipments of the vaccine have been quite unpredictable, making it difficult for public health departments to plan clinics," Terando said. As for the upcoming clinics that had been scheduled for November, members of the Ames community can do little but hope for the best as success depends on the whether or not there is enough vaccine to go around. "The availability of H1N1 vaccine will determine the status of the Nov. 10 and 18 clinics,"Terando said.