News Columns & Blogs

Lawmakers and staff get vaccinated at H1N1 clinic

TOPEKA – A few minutes and a quick stick is all it took for lawmakers and their staff to get vaccinated against the swine flu on Thursday.

The clinic in the Statehouse was set up by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Shawnee County Health Agency.

The clinic's aim was to show Kansans that anyone could find the time to get an H1N1 vaccine, said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, director of health for KDHE.

"Who is busier in Kansas right now that the people who work under the dome," he said.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, Lawrence, said he had meant to get the vaccine before the session started on Monday, but hadn't accomplished the task.

"It is important for people to not just think about doing this they need to get out and actually get it done," he said.

Surveys have shown most people don't get vaccinated because they just haven't gotten around to it, he said. About 2 million Kansans have yet to received the vaccine, which is available in both a shot and nasal spray.

Eberhart-Phillips said people should still get vaccinated. "In most years the flu season peaks in the month of February, so the time to get vaccinated is right now."

House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, said he'd never been a fan of needles, but the shot didn't hurt a bit.

"They have kinder and gentler needles out there, this was nothing," he laughed afterward.

Legislator H1N1 vaccination clinic from Jeannine Koranda on Vimeo.