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Commissioner of public health updates county on H1N1

Commissioner of Public Health for Schenectady County, Dr. David Pratt, provided an update to the County's H1N1 activities during the Feb. 9 meeting of the County Legislature.

Pratt outlined the response to the H1N1 epidemic on the national, state and local levels- explaining how local health care agencies came together to vaccinate and take care of those in the community.

The Schenectady County response to the 2009 Novel H1N1 flu was rapid, professional and diligent, said Dr. Pratt in a statement. "Ellis Medicine, Capital Care Physicians, Hometown Health, private practices, pharmacies and Schenectady County Public Health Services all worked together to anticipate the epidemic and plan how we would cope with it."

Schenectady County Public Health Services lead the response to the H1N1 outbreak based on earlier preparations for bio terrorism threats, according to a release from the county.SCPHS used Points of Dispensing, or PODs, to reach into the community to provide the H1N1 vaccine to residents. As of Feb. 9, 33 POD Clinics have been held throughout the county with the county receiving approximately 66,800 vaccine doses, of which 32,000 doses have been administered. Clinics will continue to be held throughout the county with the next one set for Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Schenectady Green Market in Proctors Theatre.

"The ability of Dr. Pratt and Public Health Services to be able to coordinate such a mass vaccination in such a short period of time, and the amount of cooperation that developed between SCPHS, Ellis and primary physicians was truly remarkable," said Chair of the Health Committee Dr. Brian Gordon, D-Niskayuna, in a statement. "To my knowledge that has never happened before in Schenectady County."

The SCPHS estimates that 60% of county residents are still not vaccinated, creating concerns that the virus could return among those who have not been affected by it already. It is strongly recommended that residents of the county get their H1N1 vaccine now.

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