Getting vaccinations to Santa Barbara County’s vulnerable population continues to be the priority for officials dealing with H1N1. Two more vaccine clinics are scheduled for this week, one at Veteran’s Hall, 341 Walnut Avenue, in Carpinteria, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 11/14, and the other at the Earl Warren Showgrounds from 3 to 7 p.m. on 11/16. The high-risk groups include pregnant women, children from ages six months to four years, health-care workers, and parents of newborn infants. A majority of the almost 1,000 residents vaccinated at Earl Warren Showgrounds on 11/5 were children under the age of five. Because of an uptick in the number of available vaccinations, officials are extending the age of eligible children to 12.
The County Public Health Department has given roughly 4,500 doses of vaccine in its clinics and has provided private practices with about 15,000 doses. The number of people who have died from the swine flu in the county remains at three, while there are four to five “presumed” deaths related to the illness. Since June 9, the total number of people hospitalized with the flu countywide is 43, including 20 from Santa Barbara. Right now, H1N1 is the primary flu floating throughout the county and usually runs its course in three to five days. Two special education classrooms on the Dos Pueblos High School campus were closed for a week because the students were more vulnerable to the flu, a proactive decision made on the advice of the Public Health Department. The students have since returned to school. The school district is continually monitoring its absentee rates, on the lookout for higher than normal ranges. As with the normal flu, schools are encouraging students with flu-like symptoms to stay home.