County Residents Fight the Flu
Carla Peay | 11/20/2009, 1:15 a.m.
Tazzie €Cherry€ Onwubere, 66, stood in line with hundreds of other Prince George€s County residents to get free flu shots at the Sports and Learning Complex in Landover on Sat., Nov. 14.
€Being a retired nurse, I know it€s [getting the shot] kind of important. To tell you truth, I was just as interested in getting the regular flu shot also,€ said the Landover resident. Onwubere said she€s unconcerned about the negative reactions that have been associated with the shot.
€I have taken all kinds of shots during my lifetime, and I€ve never had any real bad effects. Being a nurse, you had to take almost everything,€ Onwubere said.
The Prince George€s County Health Department, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control, has designated the following groups as priorities for receiving the H1N1 vaccine: pregnant women, household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, all people from 6 months through 24 years of age; and persons aged 25 through 64 years of age who have health conditions associated with higher risk for medical complications from influenza.
Despite the need to identify priority groups due to the availability of the vaccine, County health officials say they are committed to providing the vaccine to anyone who wants it.
Trisana Cephas, 38, of Accokeek, came to the clinic to have herself and her two daughters, Trinity and Treasure, ages five and two, immunized.
€It€s pretty significant [getting immunized]. From what I understand, the elderly are most immune to it, and I thought if their bodies can take it, then I€d rather be in a controlled environment where we introduce it [the vaccine] to my children.€
Treasure and Trinity Cephas, both of whom are in day care, have already received seasonal flu shots.
David Jay Abram, 45, of Cheverly is also taking a proactive approach with his family because of his concerns about H1N1.
€I have three little kids and the older two were able to get the shot in school, but the four year old, Angelo, who is in preschool; they didn€t have that available.€ Abram€s two older children, Kyreese and Maynai, are ages seven and nine.
€When my mother told me this [flu shot clinic] was here, we raced down. We are not going to lose any of these kids to the flu. This flu can be lethal. We are not taking any chances with these little kids.€ Abram€s children did not receive seasonal flu shots.
County health officials warn that both types of the flu can be a cause for concern.
€We treated approximately 700 people today,€ said Dr. Elmer T. Carreno, a Medical Director for the Prince George€s County Health Department, and one of the doctors who administered the vaccine during the clinic.
€We€ve had as many as 1,000 participants [in these clinics]. The H1N1 is what everyone is clamoring for, which is the novel virus, or the so-called swine flu. But our big concern is that people don€t forget the seasonal flu. Seasonal flu takes 36,000 people€s lives a year. That€s about 100 people a day. With the H1N1, there are some deaths, but it€s so much less.€ Carreno said.
Carreno described H1N1 as a €young person€s disease.€
€The people that are getting sick with this and ending up in intensive care are teenagers and kids, and usually they have asthma or some other underlying illness. So, it€s very important that they get both, depending on the criteria they meet,€ Carreno said.
Both H1N1 and seasonal flu shots were given out at the clinic.
For more information on the flu, upcoming clinics, and other health concerns, visit www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/Government/AgencyIndex/Health/ WI