LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Thousands of H1N1 vaccines flooded into the county last fall, now more than a thousand are on their way out.
"The majority of it expired June 30 and our staff destroyed of it accordingly," said Sharon Shaw, the director at the Angelina County and Cities Health District. "There were about 1,300 doses that we had to destroy."
The health district received about 10,000 vaccines and gave out about 6,000. Woodland Heights gave more than 400 doses to physicians, employees and volunteers. But the hospital sent about 340 doses to be destroyed.
"We were expecting a large number of people very ill and very sick and so we became very aggressive," said Doris Weatherford, the Woodland Heights Hospital director of infection control.
Although they are being discarded, officials say the money and vaccines were not a waste.
"Who's to say what the outcome would've been if we had not been so aggressive and had not have had the vaccine?" Weatherford said.
Shaw says although they've had to dispose of more than 1,000 vaccines, she's still glad they had them on hand in case a widespread outbreak happened in the county.
"We're going to move forward, we have about 700 of the ones that don't expire until next year," Shaw said.
Health officials say they think fear is partially to blame. Some East Texans were skeptical of the new vaccine.
"I heard a lot of people say they've never taken a vaccine before, you know with the regular flu vaccine and they took the H1N1 and so I think that the anxiety did play a part in it," Weatherford said.
And although the hundreds thrown out represent East Texans that went without the vaccine, Shaw says the pandemic was a valuable experience.
"So, there's always going to be an opportunity at the end to look back and see what you would've changed and it was out of our control how many we've actually received and how many we discarded," Shaw said.