Northwestern North Dakota has its first documented case of the H1N1 virus for the new flu season this week at a time when Williston health facilities are running out of the regular seasonal flu vaccine.
The Upper Missouri District Health Unit is postponing all future walk-in vaccination clinics for the regular seasonal flu, said public information officer Daphne Clark. A press release issued late Wednesday by the health unit states the problem is "due to circumstances beyond our control because our distributor is focusing on H1N1 vaccine and our vaccine has not arrived yet."
"We've only received a portion of our order," Clark said of the seasonal flu vaccine.
The delay became known Wednesday as health unit officials followed up on when additional vaccine is to be shipped.
"They just can't get it to us until the end of October or sometime in November, which would be about our normal time to do those," Clark said. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had encouraged health providers to give earlier-than-normal vaccination for the regular seasonal flu due to the H1N1 virus.
"It just wasn't working," Clark said of the desire to provide earlier vaccinations for the seasonal flu.
The health unit is still expecting to receive about 1,000 doses of the seasonal flu vaccine, she added. The unit held its first vaccination clinic of the fall last week.
"We had over 300 people at that first clinic. So we did get some out there and we did vaccinate some children too on some other days," Clark said.
Clark didn't know how much seasonal flu vaccine remained at Williston health providers. Williston's Trinity Community Clinic-Western Dakota nurse supervisor Charlene Strand is expecting to receive more seasonal flu vaccine late Thursday or Friday from Minot's Trinity Medical Center after running out Wednesday.
Strand said the clinic already has used 700 doses, but it also hasn't received its full shipment of the seasonal flu vaccine from its supplier.
"I don't know how many they can spare," Strand said of what she is expecting from Minot. "I'm hoping that someone can bring them up today."
Strand said patients can call the clinic to find out if the shipment has arrived and if they can get vaccinated.
Williston's Fairlight Medical Center does have seasonal flu vaccine, said business coordinator Chris Traeger.
"We still have quite a bit available. We actually have started our big push," Traeger said. "At any time, people can come in and get their flu shot."
Traeger said Fairlight also has the specialty seasonal flu shot for young children.http://www.kfgo.com/regionalnews_Detail.php?ID=9815