The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says approximately 6 million doses of novel H1N1 flu vaccine were shipped throughout the United States as of Oct. 17, but Evanston, like many Illinois municipalities, is waiting for its supply. A delay in the production of the vaccines has pushed back planned immunizations across the state.

Even so, said the City’s Health and Human Services Director, Evonda Thomas, the CDC notified the City on Oct. 26 that the first shipment of the novel H1N1 flu vaccine should be in Evanston by the end of this week. The City has scheduled vaccination clinics at both School District 65 and School District 202, at Northwestern University and some private schools, as well as weekend clinics. She said, “Pending vaccine availability, we are scheduled to open the first clinic on Nov. 2.”

Ms. Thomas urged residents to get H1N1 vaccinations from private providers if possible, and not to wait for the City clinics. Because this is a pandemic, she urged everyone to follow good health routines, to stay home if sick, follow proper cough procedures and to recognize the early symptoms of the novel H1N1 flu. “We appreciate your understanding during this challenging pandemic year,” she said.

The novel H1N1 virus, formerly called the “swine flu,” spread through St. Athanasius School last week. With 26 percent of the students home with the flu, Carl Caneva of the City’s health department said, school officials decided to close the school on both Friday and Monday. He said the decision was “theirs – not the decision of the Evanston Health Department. It helped prevent the spread of the virus within the school and gave people time to recover.”

The CDC does not have a percentage of absences that would trigger such a decision, Mr. Caneva added.

Ms. Thomas said the City’s website, www.cityofevanston.org, will be updated daily.

Information will also be posted on the RoundTable’s website as soon as it is received.