Corry Memorial Hospital has been approved to receive more than 770 doses of the swine flu vaccination, which are expected to arrive in mid-October.

However, those vaccinations will be administered to hospital employees and admitted patients only, said Jim Gervase, director of pharmacy at Corry Memorial Hospital.

“If there is an outbreak, we need our employees here at work,” Gervase said. “If we get overloaded with patients, then we can’t take care of anybody.”

Health care providers interested in administering the swine flu vaccination are being required to preregister online through the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Preregistrations are being offered to hospitals, clinics, pharmacists, schools and community vaccinators.

Last week, Corry hospital was notified it would receive 776 vaccinations, said Gervase, who handled the hospital’s application process.

Officials from the Corry Area School District report they have also applied for the vaccinations, but have yet to receive confirmation.

“There’s a chance that we may not get them in the district,” said Sue Scalise, R.N., and middle-high school nurse.

Because the federal H1N1 vaccine program is still being developed, the state Department of Health has cautioned it cannot guarantee the vaccine would be supplied to all preregistered providers or the timing or the size of the shipment.

When applying for the vaccinations, the government is taking into consideration the number of people who fall within high-risk groups, such as pregnant women, household contact with children under 6 months, persons 6 months to 24 years, adults under 65 with medical conditions, health-care workers and emergency medical service personnel.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — a group that advises the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention — did not include senior citizens in that high priority list.

Like Corry hospital, if the Corry school district is approved to receive vaccinations, those shots will be administered in-house.

“They would be for students and staff,” Scalise said. “In a way, our teachers are considered to be at high risk because they are exposed to students all day long.”

So where does the general public go to get their own swine flu shot?

“It could be November before doses are available to the public,” Gervase said.

See the Journal's Thursday, September 24th edition for full story.

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