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H1N1 vaccine plentiful in Iowa

By Daily News Staff and MCT

Once rare and in high demand, H1N1 vaccine is now plentiful in Iowa and health officials are encouraging its use.

“It just seems like there’s less interest,” said Doug Beardsley, director of Johnson County Public Health. “Now it’s just a matter of demand. It’s there. If someone wants a shot, it’s available.”

A number of used doses may not be entered into the tracking system yet, but Beardsley said plenty is still available.

Iowa has received more than 1.1 million doses of H1N1 vaccine. Polly CarverKimm, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Health, said it was unknown how many had been used because of the lag in entering information in the tracking system.

Last month, the state lifted restrictions so anyone could receive a dose.

Previously, because of short supply, the vaccine was allotted only to pregnant women and others considered at high risk of H1N1 flu complications.

Vaccine was purchased by the federal government and is free, but doctors’ offices and pharmacies can charge an administrative fee.

Iowa has had 40 confirmed H1N1 deaths and more than 700 H1N1-related hospitalizations.Asthma and other respiratory diseases, cancer and diabetes are among the risk factors for complications.

In Jasper County, Jennifer Jordan, director of Skiff Medical Center Public Health Department, said she estimated that about 30 percent of the county’s residents have been vaccinated against the H1N1 influenza. The hospital will hold a H1N1 clinic today, and again on Jan. 28. There is no cost for the vaccination at the medical center. Public Health officials also have been visiting nursing homes and senior citizen centers around the county to administer the vaccine.

“The main thing is that we are making sure that the uninsured and the under-insured can get vaccinated if they want,” Jordan said.

Although there was some stigma against the vaccine by some in the general public, Jordan said she has heard of no one who has had problems with it. As as with any influenza vaccine, the usual precautions apply with H1N1, such as, precautions for those who have allergies to eggs.

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