No new swine flu deaths were reported in the last week and only one additional patient has been hospitalized, according to Santa Barbara County health officials. That leaves the number of deaths at six, and brings the number of hospitalizations to 56.

Meanwhile, of the 107,000 swine flu (H1N1) vaccinations distributed throughout Santa Barbara County, only 100 were the subject of the recent recall; batches of the vaccine were recalled because they were not potent enough. It’s unclear, however, just how many of the county’s inventory has actually been administered. The threshold county health officials are shooting for is one third the county’s population of 450,000 residents. That’s the figure at which populations-and not just individuals-begin to exhibit group immunity.

Nearly half of those hospitalized are between the ages of five and 24. Nearly a quarter are between 25 and 50. Ten percent are over the age of 65. Only 12.5 percent are four years old or younger.

County officials said they have no information to suggest fear of deportation is keeping recent immigrants from seeking help. County clinics have dispensed, free, 17,000 vaccines throughout the county without seeking citizenship status or charge. County health officials have sought to get the word out by distributing flyers in English and Spanish on buses, at flea markets, and in Laundromats and church bulletins.


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