Wow! What a difference a month makes! Since my last blog entry, the Central Ohio Area is now in the midst of immunization against H1N1, and President Obama has declared a state of emergency regarding the H1N1 pandemic in the United States. We are making history in terms of protection against a potentially deadly disease.
Recently, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the H1N1 clinic held at the Columbus City Health Dept. on Parson’s Ave on behalf of the American Red Cross. As I pulled into the parking lot to volunteer, families were lined up down the street, and a police officer was directing traffic into the building. The day I volunteered, over 2,000 high risk individuals received their H1N1 vaccination. Families of all different ethnic origins and backgrounds were wanting help that day. Many parents brought children hoping they would be immunized. After trained staff members gave individuals their vaccination, the Health Department asked that each person wait for 15 minutes so that we as a team could monitor them for any type of physical reaction. While I was volunteering my job was to observe patients for any reactions to the vaccine, the team I worked on actually witnessed very few reactions. A few people complained of sore arms where the injection was given, and few people were nervous about side effects.
The experience of helping the pubic and witnessing the efficiency of the Columbus Public Health Department made me so thankful for the opportunity to help that day. I encourage everyone to tune in to news outlets, like our local television stations, who are reporting nightly where the next immunization clinics will be held. According the Centers for Disease Control, 36,000 people die annually from the seasonal flu, and 200,000 wind up in the hospital due to seasonal flu complications. We need to do everything possible to prevent this new strain of the virus from affecting our loved ones. I am thankful that organizations like the local health departments, the CDC and our local Red Cross chapter are working together to keep us safe!
Visit columbuspandemicflu.org for the latest local vaccination clinic information.