County ranks high for H1N1 vaccinations

Published 7:05 am Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mower County has ranked among the top counties in the state in having the highest percentage of people vaccinated for the H1N1 flu.

Mower County Public Health director Margene Gunderson spoke with the Mower County Board of Commissioners Tuesday about the county’s effort to vaccinate the public. The county, like the state of Minnesota, scored well.

Gunderson said the success was because of a county-wide effort that combined the work of public health, Austin Medical Center, rural clinics and smart clinics.

“I am very pleased with the cooperation among vaccination providers in Mower County,” Gunderson said in an email. “Mower County Public Health worked with the Austin Medical Center, Smart Clinic, area pharmacies and Long Term Care agencies to provide vaccinations for the highest risk individuals in our county. Because we all worked together, we were very successful in managing this need in our community.”

Overall, 30-34 percent of the people in Mower County were vaccinated with at least one dose, compared to 23 percent statewide. The county scored well ahead of the state by vaccinating 40-49 percent of people ages 6 months to 4-years-old — one of the highest risk groups for H1N1 — with two doses compared with 26 percent statewide. Also, 30-39 percent of the children between 5 and 9 received two doses, far ahead of the state’s 19 percent.

“This was a test of our ability to respond in a coordinated way during a local public health emergency and the data speaks loud and clear that we were largely successful,” Gunderson said. Minnesota scored eighth overall for H1N1 vaccination. The state scored first for vaccinating people age 25 to 64.

While flu season is waning, people haven’t seen the last of H1N1 vaccines; however, it likely won’t be as visible. Now that the H1N1 is circulating along with many other strains, Gunderson said H1N1 will likely be one of the forms of the flu targeted by regular seasonal flu shots this fall.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 2,475,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine had been ordered for clinics in Minnesota as of April 28. For more information on how Mower County and other counties scored, visit www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/flu/stats/vaccine.html.