Keegan Parsons, 3, gets his H1N1 vaccination via nasal spray at the Cassopolis Family Clinic. The clinic administered vaccinations to the public last week. (Vigilant photo/JESSICA SIEFF)
Keegan Parsons, 3, gets his H1N1 vaccination via nasal spray at the Cassopolis Family Clinic. The clinic administered vaccinations to the public last week. (Vigilant photo/JESSICA SIEFF)

Archived Story

H1N1 vaccine comes to Cass County

Published 3:22pm Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cassopolis Vigilant

Kaden Parsons, 6, and his little brother Keegan didn’t seem nervous about stopping at the Cass County Family Clinic to get their H1N1 vaccination until they had made their way to a small but colorful office in the back.

But there was a moment when they looked a little nervous.

A public clinic was held for H1N1 vaccinations at the Cass Family Clinic on Wednesday, Nov. 11 as were many in neighboring counties, throughout the state and the country in recent weeks.

When the doors opened, Dr. Laurie Checkley said there was a line of area residents waiting for their shot or nasal spray vaccination.

“We have had a lot (of people) asking for it,” Checkley said, including those outside of the CDC’s designated priority list of candidates to have their vaccinations first.

There has been plenty of emotion surrounding the outbreak of H1N1 since it first surfaced last year. There was speculation, confusion and even panic.

And the range of emotions continue as more and more Americans wait in line, there are more questions.

Some reports in other areas of the country quoted parents as nervous about having their children given yet another vaccination.

“The CDC has recommended that kids get flu shots for a number of years,” Checkley said. “There is a lot of data behind the vaccination for kids.”

Criticism remains regarding the severity of H1N1, but Checkley said the presence of the virus in areas like Cassopolis as well as a cross the country is evident.

“I think we’ve had enough of a hit with (H1N1) to say that, you know, it’s a flu,” she said.
Tuesday news out of Northern Indiana reported two individuals had died following H1N1 complications. Such news has only fed the public’s panic about the flu even following the first round of vaccinations.

“The percentage of people getting really sick is not that different, it’s just that there’s so many people susceptible this time through,” Checkley said.

She added that in the worse cases she’s seen in young children, those children were either very young or suffering from underlying health problems.

That susceptibility to the virus, she added is what has led to the focus on vaccinating children now.

It was the word “shot” muttered in passing that seemed to get Keegan and Kaden a little nervous when they were brought into one of clinic’s offices – but many children are being administered the vaccine through a nasal spray.

The boys seemed quite happy with that.

“The nasal spray is a live virus that is weakened,” Checkley explained. Children with underlying health problems aren’t given the opportunity for the spray and instead are administered the vaccine through a standard shot, which holds a dead virus.

With the first round of vaccinations administered in much of the southwest Michigan area, clinics and doctors are gearing up for another – for those who weren’t part of the primary targeted priority group.

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