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Santa Clara Health Officials Warn Against H1N1 Fatigue

New America Media, News Report, Video, Suzanne Manneh // Video by Mike Siv Posted: Dec 24, 2009

SAN JOSE, Calif.Since the vaccines release in October, Santa Clara County residents havent been going to the fairgrounds for rides and cotton candy, but for H1N1 vaccines.

We had people waiting in line for eight hours and families coming with their children in strollers, said Molly Carbajal with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. The vaccines are free and people are not asked for their identification. All we need is the person, she said.

According to the SCC Public Health Department Web site, 30,000 residents have already been vaccinated through the countys public health clinics and valley health centers. The number is expected to grow as the county receives more vaccines and opens more public clinics.

But as recent trends suggest that the pandemic may have reached its peak, state and county health officials fear that those who still need to the vaccine will decide not to get it.

Its the holidays and Im really tired of hearing about it. I havent gotten vaccinated, but it looks okay now. Lets move on. This is what many people are increasingly saying and thinking, said Dr. Sara Cody of the SCC Public Health Department at an ethnic media news briefing sponsored by The California Endowment. But its especially critical for people who fall into the five at-risk categories to get vaccinated, she added.

The at-risk groups are pregnant women, health care personnel, caregivers, children ages 6 months to 24 years, and adults aged 25 to 64 years who have chronic illnesses. About 800,000 in Santa Clara County fall into one of these categories, who have first priority in obtaining the vaccine.

Cody also added that many people are reluctant to get vaccinated because of myths that the shot will make you sick.

You have people who get the (H1N1) vaccine, then say, Well I got the flu shot, but now I have all of these symptoms, but they really have nothing to do with each other, she explained. Your chance of having a bad experience with H1N1 is 1,000 times greater than with getting the H1N1 vaccine.

But some members of local ethnic media said that their communities prefer alternative methods of prevention, such as herbs or Chinese medicine. Cody stressed that while she doesnt discourage communities from taking extra heath precautions, vaccination is the best method of prevention.

Mike Sicilia of the California Department Public Health reassured journalists that the vaccine is safe. A recent batch of 800,000 vaccines was recalled because they lacked potency, not because they were unsafe, he said.

Sicilia added that it is important for people get vaccinated in order to protect those around them who are at risk and cannot be vaccinated.

If I wasnt vaccinated, I could be infecting someone who could die from it, said New America Media executive director Sandy Close. How could I put myself in that position?

In California, 7,498 people have been hospitalized with H1N1 and 419 people have died since April. In Santa Clara County, 825 people have been hospitalized with H1N1 and 15 people have died.

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