People Line Up for Flu Shots at District€s McKinley Tech

Odochi Ibe | 11/13/2009, 3:16 p.m.

They had seen the news stories about the long lines and short tempers as nervous parents and anxious adults jostled to get H1N1 vaccinations for themselves or their children.

So, many were prepared for the worse before they came to McKinley Technology High School in Washington for their chance at an H1N1 vaccination.
€I brought a chair and snack just in case I would be standing in line for an extended amount of time,€ said Doris Wilson, a retired school teacher from Upper Marlboro. €I was taking every precaution after seeing all those people on the news waiting for the vaccination. I thought the line would be around the block, but I was pleasantly surprised.€
Cheryl Barnes of Northwest Washington expected the same.

€This is my third time trying to get this vaccination for my daughter,€ Barnes said while holding her five-year-old. €So, I am really happy that it€s not busy here tonight. I already know one or two people who have gotten sick. So, I really am anxious to get my daughter vaccinated, and it€s just been really frustrating.€

The two were among nearly 500 people who showed up at McKinley Technology High School last week to receive H1N1 shots. McKinley was one of more than a dozen H1N1 vaccination sites sponsored by the District of Columbia Department of Health (DCDOH).

While the shots were made available by the city for D.C. residents, many vaccine recipients came from Maryland and Virginia. Dena Iverson, spokeswoman for the DCDOH, said, the city was well prepared to provide vaccinations for the city€s residents.

€There are 1000 available vaccinations at each location.€ Iverson said. €So far, we have been well stocked with the vaccine, and if we run out at one location, there is another available site where patrons can receive it.€

And if those who came to McKinley thought the attendance was low, they would have been stunned by the turnout at Kelly-Miller Middle School. Only 50 people arrived to receive vaccinations. Those who received the vaccinations at McKinley said they were appreciative.

€It is really important that people get this shot in my opinion,€ said Melanie Richards, a resident of Colombia Heights. €There are a lot of people who are really nonchalant about this virus, but it is really a serious matter. I€m disappointed more people haven€t shown up.€

There have been some people who are apprehensive about getting the H1N1 vaccination, because they think that the side effects are worse than getting the shot, or they are worried it will increase their chance of getting the virus, health officials said.

But while the turnout at McKinley was relatively low, more than 1,300 shots were given at Wilson Senior High School, and the overflow had to be sent over to Hardy Middle school, Iverson said. Nobody had to be turned away from the school, she said.

McKinley was a sharp contrast with the experiences at many other vaccination sites across the nation. The news media have shown images of anxious, frustrated and sometimes vying to get the vaccination. Some workers have even resigned due to the pressure and anxiety they have felt from the public about the H1N1 vaccine, according to news reports.