I got an H1N1 vaccine and a really cool sticker

I’m H1N1-ready. The vaccine that I received this evening will start providing immunity in a few weeks. I received one of a thousand doses available at the Riley County Health Department in Manhattan, KS.

The first wave of high-risk people received vaccinations a few weeks ago.  The high-risk category includes infants, pregnant women, the elderly and the immunocompromised. Tonight’s clinic offered the vaccine to people in the lower-risk category, including healthy people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years. I was excited to be able to receive a vaccine, but even better was that I didn’t pay anything – a college student’s dream.

As with most free things, the line was unbelievably long. Unfortunately I didn’t remember Doug’s advice to always carry my camera around, but the sight was pretty crazy with a long line snaking out of the building and police directing traffic. It made me wonder what the scene would look like if the virus being vaccinated against was more pathogenic or more virulent. Would the Riley County Police Department be able to handle the panicked Manhattan-ites? Would the health care staff manning the clinic be able to herd people through as efficiently?

After some Internet wandering I found the Kansas Department of Health’s Pandemic Flu Preparedness and Response Plan.  It looks like a decent plan, but I’m having a hard time imagining it working well after tonight’s mild chaos outside the clinic. Thankfully H1N1 is not as deadly as Ebola.  Perhaps the H1N1 scare is just a practice run for future bioterrorism?

For more information about where to get an H1N1 vaccination in Kansas you can visit the Kansas Department of Health and Environment H1N1 Flu Virus homepage.  For other locations throughout the US, or to learn more about the seasonal flu and H1N1, visit Flu.gov

I also got this awesome sticker to put on my computer at school: