By 8 a.m. on Nov. 7, an hour before the City was to begin administering vaccinations for the H1N1 flu, more than 600 persons lined up at the entrance of Evanston Township High School’s Bacon Cafeteria. Some read newspapers, sitting on chairs they had brought from home; others chatted among themselves as they waited single-file for the doors to open.

The early morning atmosphere, remarked one health-care worker helping to set up the clinic within, was light and expectant, somewhat like the anticipation in the air before a football game.

As the sunny autumn day waxed, and the line grew: parents with their young children in strollers or held by hand, the 30s and 40s crowd arriving by car, on foot or by bicycle, as well as others in the groups the Centers for Disease Control targeted as priorities for these vaccines.

Two hours later, by 10 a.m., the line had grown, extending south from the entrance, then around the perimeter of the east parking lot and reaching all the way to Lake Street. One person in the line at that time reported concern that the City would run out of the 1,250 doses of vaccine on hand for that clinic.

Those fears proved unfounded.

Within the high school, fire, police and medical personnel were on hand, and paramedics from other locales were there to administer the vaccinations and oversee the process in the second of the free H1N1 vaccination clinics planned for Evanston residents.

After registration and other paperwork, people received their vaccinations by injection. These injections were of an attenuated (non-live) vaccine, said the City’s Health and Human Services Director, Evonda Thomas; the nasal spray contains the live virus. Ms. Thomas told the RoundTable, that, although few lab tests have been performed to confirm a diagnosis of H1N1 virus, “We know that the virus is here. … People tend to be out of school a day or two, and we encourage people to return to work when they have been fever-free for 24 hours.” She added that the clinic the day before – at Dawes School on Nov. 6 – had run smoothly. Saturday, she said, would “give us an idea of how our system works.”

Apparently it worked well.

The clinic closed at 4 p.m., Ms. Thomas said, with about 90 injections and 250 nasal vaccines remaining. “Everyone was served,” she said, adding, “The residents worked with us.”

So far the City has vaccinated 4,157 people, said Ms. Thomas. Nine additional school-based clinics are scheduled through Nov. 16. She added that, although the City has received only two shipments of vaccines so far, “we are expecting enough to vaccinate everybody who wants one.”

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Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...