Valley endures long lines for H1N1 vaccine - East Valley Tribune: News

Valley endures long lines for H1N1 vaccine

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Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2009 4:47 pm | Updated: 2:57 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Gene and Emily Hurd of Mesa took their 22-month-old daughter to receive an H1N1 vaccination Saturday morning, hoping to get on with the rest of their day in a reasonable amount of time. After two hours of waiting in line, the couple still wasn't in the building.

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Gene and Emily Hurd of Mesa took their 22-month-old daughter to receive an H1N1 vaccination Saturday morning, hoping to get on with the rest of their day in a reasonable amount of time.

After two hours of waiting in line, the couple still wasn't in the building.

"We didn't think it would be this bad," Gene Hurd said. "I wasn't expecting it to be walk-in and walk-out, but I wasn't expecting a line this big."

Hurd was at a Mesa location out of nearly 40 sites spread across the Valley - the few destinations offering the sparse vaccine for H1N1, also known as swine flu. The sites included shopping destinations and supermarkets - all places where lots of people tend to go.

Hurd said it was a debacle from where he stood.

"They don't look like they have a lot of people working there," Hurd observed at a Bashas' supermarket in Mesa near Brown Road and Mesa Drive. "I only saw a couple of people doing it (shots), so I think they probably should've been more prepared."

At one point, more than 150 people were standing in line.

The Bashas' supermarket was one of six out of the chain's stores hosting shots of the vaccine in the Valley.

Art Mollen, founder of the Mollen Immunization Clinics that administered the shots at the Bashas' locations, said each location was prepared to see about 500 people for the vaccinations.

Three Mollen Immunization Clinic nurses gave the shots at the Mesa Bashas' store.

With their limited supply, Mollen said workers had to limit access.

Children 6 months old up to teenagers of 18 years, caregivers of babies 6 months and younger, and pregnant women were given the vaccine, Mollen said.

That designation also extended to people at special risk, said Rita Brock-Perini, a nurse with the Mollen clinic.

"If they have long-term conditions like asthma, bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, anybody that has that, they would get (the vaccine)," as well, Brock-Perini said. "Basically anybody who's immune-compromised."

In addition to the H1N1 shot, the clinic also offered 400 regular seasonal flu shots for those who did not qualify for the H1N1 vaccine, according to Brock-Perini.

Nurses of the clinic tried to reassure those in line that they would not run out of the vaccine before their turn came around.

When asked if she anticipated running out of the H1N1 vaccines before the end of the allotted time for the in-store clinic, Brock-Perini remained upbeat.

"We hope not," Brock-Perini said. "But we do have a lot of families that have multiples. We do know that we have 500 (vaccines), but when you've got a family that's got six kids and two adults, they take up a big batch of it."

One person who did not take any chances of the store running out of the vaccine was Nancy Wood, an east Mesa resident.

She was the first person to receive the shot at the store. Wood started in line at 7:40 a.m.

But even with reports of long lines across the Valley, Woods said her two-hour wait was self-inflicted.

"I was in line for two hours," she said, adding that it was only because she arrived two hours before the 10 a.m. start time.

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