Large Turnout Expected at Wednesday Flu Clinic

November 4, 2009 12:20:53 AM PST
Health officials are expecting a large turnout at a free H1N1 vaccine clinic at Fresno's Manchester Center. As they prepare for the crowds, new numbers from the state point to a new group of people who may be at a higher risk for complications.Mall management at Manchester Center said they were bombarded with calls Tuesday asking about Wednesday's clinic. It begins at 4 p.m. but lines are expected to begin forming in the morning. "We have had people call, asking if they can come start a line earlier this afternoon. But we shut down at eight, so not possible," said marketing director Laura Geuvjehizian.

Fresno County health officials say they have 10,000 doses of the vaccine and they're expecting another shipment this week. They're hoping people will keep that in mind even as they bring in extra staffing in anticipation of Wednesday's rush. "Because we expect a lot of people, we would like people to recognize there is a big demand for it ... to recognize this isn't the only time that they can get the H1N1 vaccine, and to be patient, said Dr. Edward Moreno with the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

Both nasal mist and flu shots will be given out free of charge Wednesday, but health officials are still targeting those at higher risk for complications, including young children, pregnant women and those with other health issues.

A new study from state officials also points to another group that could be at higher risk, even though they don't fall under the CDC guidelines. An analysis of more than 1,000 cases of H1N1 that required hospitalization in California shows more than a quarter of those hospitalized were morbidly obese. This obesity risk is almost as high as it is for pregnant women. The apparent connection between H1N1 complications and obesity came as no surprise to Fresno doctor Ify Ekelem. He said obesity always puts people at a higher risk. "It increases the overall morbidity of most disease entities almost by almost five times, for the most part," said Dr. Ekelem.



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