Sunday, October 25, 2009

County Nurses Prepare For H1N1 Immunization

Volunteer nurses and medical personnel gathered at McHenry County College Saturday in the first of a series of training sessions to prepare for mass H1N1 flu immunizations.

McHenry County Department of Health and Centegra Health systems hope to ensure almost half the county's residents receive innoculations against the new flu virus when vaccines become available.  So far, little has been received and there's no word when more will come.

Among the volunteers was retired Huntley RN, Diane Marks. "I saw the ad looking for nurses and I became a member (of the Medical Reserve Corps) because because it was going to be such a gigantic job."

Roughly 160,000 county residents fall into the first priority groups for vaccinations, primarily those under 25 years old.  In contrast to seasonal flu, H1N1 seems to strike them more often.

Marks was not among the medical personnel treated with the first small shipment of vaccine the county received over a week ago but said she wasn't particularly worried.

"Not really," she said.  "I've had the (seasonal) flu many times.  Hopefully I've got some immunity in my system.  That's why I thought it was important for us older folks to step up to the plate."

Mass innoculations are planned for county schoolchildren when the vaccine arrives and that's what much of Saturday's training was aimed toward.

Aside from the mass part, "Most of us aren't 'peds' (pediatric nurses) so we haven't worked with a lot of kids."

Co-ordinator Liz Hackett said about 180 health professionals, mostly nurses, had volunteered in the past couple of weeks to help with the county immunization program.

In the pics: (above)Volunteer organizer Liz Hackett hands nurse Diane Marks her official ID at McHenry County College Saturday. (below)  These area nurses were among the first for special training of the area  the county's immunization program.  

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