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SALT LAKE COUNTY -- Salt Lake County is hoping to get up to 8,000 people vaccinated for seasonal flu this weekend, in what amounts to a dress rehearsal for the H1N1 shot.
The Salt Lake Valley Health Department has scheduled two mass clinics for Saturday, Sept. 19. One will be held at the County Government Center near 2100 South and State Street. The other will be held at the same time at the Southeast Health Clinic, near 9400 South and 700 East in Sandy.
Family Health Services Division Director Audrey Stevenson says she doesn't want anyone to miss out on seasonal flu protection.
"We've done mass clinics in the past and had great success," she says. She says they're able to vaccinate up to 1,000 people an hour, with a wait time of no more than 25 minutes. The shots cost $20.
More importantly, Stevenson says it's practice for later in the fall, when the health department will need to start vaccinating people for H1N1, or swine flu.
"This will, in fact, help us in our efforts to later do mass clinics for the H1N1 or the swine flu, as well," she said.
Over the course of the next few weeks and months, the health department will partner with area doctors' offices, pharmacies and other agencies to help protect people against the seasonal flu. They expect to hand out up to 500,000 shots when it's all said and done.
The health department believes this year's flu season could pack a punch. In a release on Thursday, Medical Director for the Salt Lake Valley Health Department Dr. Dagmar Vitek said, "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has predicted that most areas within the United States will experience a Category 2 Pandemic, according to their Pandemic Severity Index (PSI) this fall."
If that were to bear out, this is what it would look like:
- Between 90,000 - 450,000 deaths nationwide
- Salt Lake County: 687 deaths
- Death rate between 30-50 per 100,000 people
- Illness rate between 20-40 percent of the population
- Salt Lake County: 295,822 people ill (illness rate of 30%)