Officials: Too Many Skipping Swine Flu Shot

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

LANSING -- "And you can see that's the number of swine flu cases," says Robin Roach, director of Infection Control at Sparrow Hospital.

She's looking at a chart of illnesses in mid-Michigan -- there's a spike where the incidence of H1N1 is logged. And Roach says there's no doubt about it: Swine flu is upon us, and mid-Michiganders -- lots of them -- are getting sick.

"It is one of our major concerns: Handling the patients who are coming ill to us," Roach says.

Sparrow is fielding about 20 H1N1 patients every day -- enough for officials there to implement the so-called "Surge Plan": The hospital's protocol when too many people flood its emergency room.

"We've had to activate that several times this fall," Roach confirms.

It's curious, then, that many here in mid-Michigan are foregoing the swine flu vaccine. Officials here at the Ingham County Health Department have held a series of vaccination clinics. And they say turnout hasn't been as high as they'd like.

"We'd like to vaccinate more," says Dr. Dean Sienko, director of the department. "We have these mass vaccination clinics. I'd like to see us busy from the time we open the clinic until the time we close."

But that hasn't been the case -- and the question, of course, is why folks are skipping the shot. Word from local health officials is, many are still concerned the vaccine will make them sick.

"People think they get the flu from the flu shot, but that's not biologically possible," Roach says.

Or they're convinced H1N1 isn't much more serious than the common flu.

"It's not just the flu," Sienko stresses. "This can be a very serious illness, particularly with young children, pregnant women and others who are in the priority groups."

Bottom line, officials say, people who wait are playing a dangerous game.

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  • by James Location: Lansing on Nov 7, 2009 at 06:34 AM
    People who wait are playing a dangerous game? We can't get the vaccine. My children need to wait another week since they had a regular flu shot. In addition, my wife and I are not in the high risk group, and probably not eligible anyway. We just don't know. All of this scare media is too confusing. Having officials make fear statements like that, only adds fuel the fire. Dr. Dean Sienko, stop complaining, and tell us when your next clinic is and who can receive these shots. These "officials" need to describe who EXACTLY can receive the vaccinations, where, and when. Tell us exactly what we need to do instead! So, when is the next vaccination clinic? Times, dates, and who is eligible please. Why did the reporter not ask that simple question? Once again, the media has published a fear filled article, without any useful information for the public. Thanks for wasting my time.
  • by me Location: fl on Nov 6, 2009 at 10:03 PM
    its all propaganda!!!!!!!
  • by Anonymous Location: Haslett on Nov 6, 2009 at 08:42 PM
    So they give the flu a "different" name everyone freaks out! come on now.. everyone gets sick! and the shot dont even work my cousin got the show and still got the Swine flu! so why do people even get it!!! stay home rest and drink lots of water and OJ if you get sick!!!!! STOP FREAKING!
  • by Jen Location: East Lansing on Nov 6, 2009 at 06:42 PM
    As far as I've seen - we aren't "eligible". EVen if one of us in the house is, I am not going to expose myself to the people in the health dept so one of us can get a shot. I'd love for the family to get it, but as far as I've seen, we aren't eligible.
  • by LegallyRad on Nov 6, 2009 at 05:19 PM
    I think it is more that people are just not going to let the media's oversensationalism of the Swine Flu scare them. Can we move on from this story already?
  • by Melanie Location: Dewitt on Nov 6, 2009 at 04:17 PM
    Until now these clinics they hold have been said to be for that county only and then only for the priority group people. Some counties seem to have more of the shots available than others. It's confusing more than anything about who can get these H1N1 shots. I know my children and I fall into the priority group but when we go to get the shots, they run out before our turn. So we wait. It needs to be made clearer who can get these shots, where they can get them and how soon.
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