Nov 1, 2009 9:19 AM by Matt Stafford

Preventive maintenance in Pueblo

The Center for Disease Control has released the latest numbers. 19 deaths from H1N1 were reported in children last week alone - making it the deadliest week for kids since the outbreak started.

More than two-thirds of the deaths are in kids who have underlying health conditions. Experts emphasize all children considered high-risk need to seek attention right away if they feel sick.

In Pueblo today, hundreds lined up at the State Fair Event Center to get their vaccine.

Shots aren't fun, but 4,200 H1N1 vaccines were ready to go in Pueblo County Saturday morning, and the lines formed.

"My son is being treated for leukemia so he's got a compromised immune system," says Steve Martinez, who was waiting in line Saturday morning.

On top, the H1N1 frenzy is making things difficult.

"It's very scary," says Martinez. "Sometimes I even wonder if sending him to school is good."

The concern for his son has Martinez waiting in line, but some came for the children of others. Randy Ellis is a pediatric dentist and wants to keep his patients safe.

"I deal in the mouths of children every day so that's why I'm here," says Ellis.

Whatever the reason, the H1N1 vaccine has been strictly limited.

"This is what we want," says Chris Nevin-Woods, Public Health Director for Pueblo County. "We wish we had more vaccine, you know its coming in little drips and drabs."

Around 11 a.m., the health department opened up the vaccine to a larger group, anyone up to 24 years old, plus law enforcement, teachers and older people with health conditions. Targeted groups like pregnant women and children get priority. Many wish there was enough for everyone.

"The distribution isn't going as smoothly as we as we'd like it to, but in Pueblo, once we get it, we get it out," Nevin-Woods says.

It looks like the residents will happily accept.

Only 1,600 of the 4,200 vaccines were given out today. The rest will be distributed, most likely through another mass vaccination.

Pueblo health experts say right now the vaccine is being distributed through the larger clinics and hospitals. They say, as larger amounts of the vaccine come in they will begin getting them out to more health care providers.




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