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Record-Setting Flu Response!
 

The UMV MRC has supported flu clinics every year since our active membership began in 2004. Our response that fall occurred when many people statewide were alarmed by vaccine shortages. MRC members supported phone screenings to reassure area residents, as well as providing inoculations and helping at clinics. During subsequent years, members supported increasing numbers of clinics to vaccinate against seasonal flu.

No sooner were our first members recruited and trained in 2004 when we had our first deployment: a regional call-out to assist public health efforts across the Upper Merrimack Valley in the face of vaccine shortages. Our MRC volunteers provided services as needed in several local communities.
Phone Screeners in Tewksbury
Syringe Fillers in Westford
Supply Preparers in Chelmsford
Inoculators in Tyngsboro

Special concerns were raised in April 2009 when the Novel H1N1 Virus emerged. The H1N1 pandemic reached historic proportions, and drew on every bit of expertise municipal services could offer.

Dr. Al DeMaria of MDPH helped area residents and MRC members understand the latest information about the Novel H1N1 Virus,
in a Westford presentation during flu season in 2009.

An influenza pandemic is an epidemic of the flu that spreads on a worldwide scale and infects a large proportion of the human population. Public health officials had long predicted that another pandemic was due, based on knowledge of the way flu viruses mutate, and the severity of their impact.

At many clinics, there is as great a need for non-medical members as for those with medical skills.

 

 

Members this season were needed for roles such as greeters...

...forms processers, registration staff, and clinic flow -- among many clinic responsibilities.

The H1N1 virus was identified too late in the year to be included among the usual seasonal flu vaccines. The added complexity of providing two vaccines, coupled with delays in delivery, and adherence to CDC guidelines of administering vaccine to target groups, made it all the more difficult to schedule clinics.

Concerned residents often lined up for the clinics long before inoculations began.

One of the reasons many believed the H1N1 pandemic had less of an impact than what was originally feared, was because health departments and the MRC supported surveillance, vastly expanded vaccination efforts, and provided widespread public education campaigns.

Nurses verified procedures and set up their stations for mass prophylaxis. It takes a lot of members with a wide range of skills to set up an effective clinic and prepare for the influx of local residents!

MRC units across the nation responded and offered surge capacity to public health departments. Our unit supported a record number of clinics this season, spanning a longer duration than ever before.

Pediatrics were a major target group for H1N1 vaccination -- including inoculations by nasal spray.

Many thanks to the members who served clinic after clinic, protecting their own communities against serious diseases!

CLINIC DATA -- To recap MRC volunteer activities, the numbers speak for themselves!

UMV MRC Response by the Numbers
Clinics supported by our members this season 37
UMV communities requesting MRC support 5
Span of clinics 9/22/09 through 2/11/10
Members serving at clinics over the 5 months 175
Most clinics supported by one member 17
Positions ("shifts") filled by MRC 444
Doses of vaccine provided 14,585

We are grateful to our many members who volunteered hundreds of hours between September 2009 and February 2010 to fill all requests for support, at clinics across the Upper Merrimack Valley. members had also signed up to help at numerous clinics that were postponed when expected deliveries of vaccines were delayed. See the table below for details.

Final clinic statistics
Billerica
October 13 and 17 clinics inoculated 650 residents.
The clinic on December 19 was expanded shortly beforehand to include H1N1 as well as seasonal flu shots, so about 90 percent came for the H1N1. Thanks in part to a reverse 9-1-1 announcement, 1500 residents were vaccinated!
The H1N1clinic on January 23 inoculated 710 Billerica residents.
Chelmsford
October 8 clinic inoculated 850 high-risk residents. The clinic on November 12 inoculated 350 residents in less than an hour! The H1N1 clinic on December 3 vaccinated 500 pre-registered children, ages 6 months to 18 years. There was a seasonal clinic that inoculated 400 residents on December 15. A seasonal flu clinic took place at the middle and high schools on December 17, inoculating 451 students from ages 11 to 18.
The first open H1N1 clinic on January 7 inoculated a whopping 1470 adult residents in four hours. Great work, volunteers!
The January 14 clinic was extended to include both pediatrics (3 to 5 p.m.) and adults (5 to 7 p.m.). A total of 525 residents were inoculated.
Lowell
November 12 clinic was deferred; then Saints Memorial and Lowell General hospitals held clinics using their staff to inoculate children for H1N1.
Tewksbury
A full day of H1N1 clinics on January 12 inoculated about 800 school children and adult residents.
A follow-up H1N1 clinic took place on February 9 at the Ryan School. Children who received their first dose on January 12 came by to complete the series. The clinic also served Tewksbury residents, so a total of 150 doses were provided.
Tyngsboro
An orientation session took place on November 30, for H1N1 clinics that were rescheduled into one event on December 5, inoculating 400 residents.
Westford
September 22 -- First major clinic of the fall. Inoculated 750 senior citizens and high-risk residents for seasonal flu and pneumonia.
October 6 -- First town-wide clinic; inoculated 650 residents.
Volunteers administered seasonal flu nasal spray to 750 students in Westford schools on Oct. 16, 20, 22, and 23. Vaccinated 284 municipal employees against seasonal flu on Nov. 4.
October 17 family clinic inoculated 100 residents against seasonal influenza.
November 14 clinic provided inoculations against seasonal flu (301) and the H1N1 virus (58 high-risk residents), as well as a pneumonia vaccination.
November 24 clinic inoculated 72 residents, and November 30 clinic provided 53 H1N1 inoculations to children and other qualified residents who had preregistered.
H1N1 clinics at Millennium School inoculated 136 high-risk residents on December 2 and 3.
Regional H1N1 clinic and Emergency Dispensing Site exercise took place on December 12 at Westford Academy, inoculating 791 area residents.
The town's last seasonal influenza clinic of 2009 took place at Millennium School on December 17, inoculating 154 local residents.
Two H1N1 clinics inoculated 115 people at Millennium School on December 18: pre-registered residents, and municipal employees (as DPH had just released most restrictions for eligibility).
The town's first open H1N1 clinic on January 7 inoculated nearly 600 residents in three hours! Another 134 were inoculated on January 12, followed by a clinic at Westford Academy on January 14 to inoculate 142 high school students.
The last three H1N1 clinics for the month took place at Millennium School, in which 79 were inoculated on January 20, and 416 were inoculated on January 21; another 141 were vaccinated with seasonal or H1N1 on January 26.
The final flu clinic of the season for our volunteers took place on February 11. With seasonal and H1N1 vaccinations, 83 residents received 103 inoculations.

 

 


Upper Merrimack Valley Medical Reserve Corps, 23 Depot Street, Westford, MA 01886