Madison County has had the lowest percentage of allocated H1N1 vaccine doses actually used among health departments in northeast Georgia.
According to statistics released earlier this month by Georgia’s 10-county Northeast Health District, only 46 percent (765 out of 1,660) of swine flu vaccines sent to the county health department were actually used.
District-wide, 28,000 doses have been allocated to the 10 counties, with 20,676 (or 74 percent) actually used. Jackson County has the highest rate of vaccine doses given at 108 percent. The Jackson County Health Department was allotted 2,610 doses but has now provided 2,806 vaccinations.
Lou Kudon, the health district’s program coordinator and epidemiologist, encourages citizens to get vaccinated on a yearly basis. He said he tells skeptics of the shots that the vaccines are worthwhile.
“We tell them the truth: that the vaccines are exceedingly safe and exceedingly effective,” said Kudon.
Kudon noted that “H1N1 is probably here to stay,” adding that Georgia has seen a spike in H1N1 cases in recent weeks. He said the H1N1 vaccine will likely be mixed with seasonal flu vaccines in the future.
Kudon said the more people who are vaccinated, the less a problem H1N1 will be.
“It’s the concept of herd immunity,” said Kudon. “The more people have it, the less it will be spread.”
The health official said people need to realize that it’s not just their own welfare at stake.
“Getting a vaccine is not only for you but for your loved ones,” said Kudon. “You don’t want to get the flu and transmit it to someone who might be affected much worse than you are.”
Perhaps the vaccines are under-utilized because I wasn't the only person who kept checking and checking back with the health department only to be told repeatedly that they were out of the flu vaccines and had no idea when they would receive more.I finally gave up!