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Story from the Field


Name of Health Department/Agency: Kern Couny Public Health Department
State: CA
Date Added: 05/14/2010
Themes: Vaccine Supply and Distribution
Issue Summary: H1N1 Flu Shot Clinics at Popular Weekend Swap Meets Reach Latinos in CA
Description of Issue(s):

It may be spring, but swine flu is still around. It's on the rise in some Southeastern states, and many people still haven't gotten the vaccine. California has come up with a novel approach to reach Latinos, a particularly vulnerable population.  Public health officials are opening makeshift clinics at popular weekend swap meets such as the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield.

Actions taken to address the issue(s): Nurse Nona Goossen says bringing the shots to the swap meet is making a difference. "It's helping a lot," she says. "We're using up a lot more vaccines than we would of if we had them just coming in to our clinics -- because people don't think it's flu season right now." Goossen says up to 1,000 people were vaccinated at the swap meet on a recent Sunday. She says they're giving out way more vaccines here than at their traditional clinics. And public health experts say the more people vaccinated, the better.
Outcomes that resulted from actions taken: "We believe that we are not yet out of the woods in terms of the risk for H1N1," says Dr. Gil Chavez, of the California Department of Public Health. Chavez says H1N1 rates are currently low. But to keep the virus at bay, it's important to bring vaccines to vulnerable populations. In California, he says, Latinos are twice as likely to be hospitalized or die from swine flu. "If you can find a location where you get a large segment of the Latino community, and you can offer them vaccine in a way that is not threatening and safe, I think that it is a very good thing to do," Chavez says. Source: NPR Morning Edition, May 4, 2010 (http://www.wbur.org/npr/125897630)

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