Demand for the swine flu vaccine drew more than one thousand people to Montgomery County’s clinic Wednesday morning.
Folks started lining up at 7 a.m., two hours before the clinic opened.
Potomac resident Robert Ost waited in the chilly weather.
“It’s probably better than getting swine flu,” he said, “but the wait is pretty annoying.”
Cheverly resident Kate Devenport said she had to wait about an hour and a half –but it was worth it.
“Just everything you hear on the news is ‘Top priority, pregnant women’, so there is no reason not to,” she said.
Michelle Lowrey had the same thoughts — and concerns. She has three young children and another on the way.
“I have every reason to be here today,” she said.
Lowrey decided to visit the clinic because she could be inoculated. Up until Wednesday, only the nasal spray vaccine was available, which is not for use on pregnant women. But on Wednesday the Silver Spring clinic began offering the injectable vaccine for high-risk individuals: pregnant women, children, health care workers, caretakers of infants and those with chronic illnesses.
“I’m so relieved,” she said. “My OB’s office didn’t think they were going to get it because they are not a wide enough distributor.”
Katherine Blake’s two children also qualify. Her daughter is under 2 years of age and her son has a congenital heart defect.
“I’ve been very nervous given that he’s high risk — he had open hear surgery as a baby — so I’ve been very nervous for him,” she said.
Grant Weaver, a child from D.C., says he wants to protect himself because the swine flu has already hit his school.
“I have some friends on the baseball team who have it and … other kids at my school probably have it but school hasn’t shut down so it’s even more kind of dangerous,” he said.
For many parents at the clinic, the risk of getting the H1N1 virus outweighs the risk of potential side effects from the vaccine, especially with news that nearly 80 children nationwide have died from the virus.
“It’s hit so hard already and we’re barely into mid-October,” said Risa Schecter, a Clarksburg resident.
“I just think we’re go ahead and do what doctors are advising us to do and [get] the H1N1 shot and hope for the best,” said Steve Schecter.
Clinic staff says even if supply runs out, there will be clinics once a week until everyone who wants to be inoculated is covered. CLICK HERE for more on the clinics.
“I think word is getting out that there is vaccine availability out in the community and I think more and more people are wanting to take advantage of it,” said Mary Anderson, a Montgomery County Health Department worker.
The clinic comes as Maryland health officials reported the 10th swine flu-related death in the state Tuesday. New numbers show the H1N1 virus could be more deadly than the seasonal flu. The new information has some residents very concerned.
Officials say they expect more doses of the vaccine to be delivered in the coming weeks.
The newest batch of vaccinations comes just days after the county made the first 2,500 doses of the H1N1 nasal spray available for priority groups 2,500 at a three-hour clinic on Friday.