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H1N1 vaccination administered to nearly 650 by Sanibel-Captiva MRC

By Staff | Nov 4, 2009

On Friday, the Sanibel-Captiva Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) administered nearly 800 H1N1 Swine Flu immunizations to children, parents, adults and seniors at The Sanibel School, with vaccines provided by the Lee County Health Department.

The immunization clinic was a volunteer effort and the first program of its kind in Lee County. The clinic was organized by Dr. Patricia Santucci, M.D., director of the U.S. MRC of Southwest Florida, and Debra Gary, R.N., Ph.D., coordinator of the U.S. MRC of Southwest Florida, under the auspices of Judith Hartner, M.D., Director of the Lee County Health Department (LCHD). LCHD is responsible for all Lee County H1N1 immunization programs.

Of the 797 people immunized at The Sanibel School on Oct. 30, each completed a health-status questionnaire which was reviewed individually by MRC physician members. With the go-ahead from these doctors, some 650 individuals received injections of the vaccine; others, generally children, were given nasal mist preparations of the vaccine. The volunteer clinic operated over four-and-a-half hours before the vaccine supply was depleted.

The local MRC unit brought in 51 volunteers to work at multiple stations within the school clinic, nearly half of whom were physicians and nurses, plus Sanibel CERT and Kiwanis Club volunteers.

In addition, public safety professionals from the Sanibel Police Department, Sanibel Fire Rescue District and Lee County EMS members were present throughout the day to help set-up the facilities, manage the flow of people and vehicles, and safeguard for any health emergencies.

In support of this valuable community effort, Bailey’s General Store, Jerry’s, Bank of the Islands and Sanibel-Capitiva Community Bank generously donated bottled water for those waiting for their immunization; water and food for the volunteers also were provided refreshments by the Island Cow, Jerry’s and Bailey’s.

The one-day, volunteer-led immunization clinic was an exceptionally gratifying and well organized, cooperative occasion for the islands’ residents, visitors and its volunteers.

Area residents wishing to learn more about, or to join the Southwest Florida MRC group should visit www.swflmrc.org for additional details. The Sanibel-Captiva group can be reached via e-mail at MRCSanibelCaptiva@yahoo.com.