Council OKs measure to fund H1N1 vaccine

St. Louis County’s Department of Health will proceed with its plans to prepare citizens for a potential influenza pandemic this fall.

The County Council last week expedited final passage of legislation approving an emergency appropriation of up to $450,000 to the health department from the health fund’s unappropriated balance.

The health department will use the funds to plan for its response to a possible countywide H1N1 virus pandemic this fall, culminating in a mass immunization.

As previously reported, the $450,000 will be replenished using a $3 million grant from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Health officials expect the first round of H1N1 vaccine — between 100,000 and 200,000 doses — to arrive in October, followed by 25,000 doses a week until the demand for immunization is met.

First responders, pregnant women, young children, young adults and adults with chronic illnesses will be first to receive the vaccine. The health department also will conduct several influenza clinics for the general public throughout the fall.