Delaware County health and safety officials are working on plans for the next H1N1 virus immunization clinic after it took some people five hours to reach the front of the line at last Monday's clinic at Buckeye Valley High School.

Delaware County health and safety officials are working on plans for the next H1N1 virus immunization clinic after it took some people five hours to reach the front of the line at last Monday's clinic at Buckeye Valley High School.

The Delaware General Health District dispensed 2,333 doses of the vaccine, either through an injection or by nasal mist, said spokesman Jesse Carter.

"It was the largest turnout ever for a single clinic conducted by the Delaware General Health District, by a large margin," he said.

Many people arrived well ahead of the 3 p.m. start time, which led to traffic jams on Coover Road, where the school is located, and U.S. Route 23N, Carter said.

The Delaware County Sheriff's Office estimated about 5,000 vehicles showed up for the clinic, lining up along the full length of Coover Road.

The sheriff's office tried to keep people in their vehicles until they could pull into the school's parking lot. Many parked on the berm and in the yards of residents and walked to the school, Carter said.

The health district's command team and sheriff's office representatives met the next day and reviewed Monday's clinic and ways to reduce traffic jams and decrease waiting times at future clinics, Carter said. Much of the focus was on locations.

The Oct. 26 clinic was for those in high-risk categories: pregnant women, children under 18 and caretakers of young children.

The health district received another shipment of vaccine on Oct. 27 but not enough to schedule another large-scale clinic, he said. More vaccine is expected next week.

"We thank everyone for their patience at Monday's clinic. We know there were some inconveniences and it isn't fun to wait in line for a long time, but we are so pleased that more than 2,300 people will have protection against H1N1 flu," said county health commissioner Frances M. Veverka.

The large turnout happened in part because this was the first clinic in Delaware County and the first for children in all of central Ohio, Veverka said.

Attendees were carefully screened. Immunizations were given only to children 6 months through 18 years old, pregnant women, health care workers in direct patient care, and parents and caregivers of babies less than 6 months old.

Compared to the normally quick pace of adult clinics, the large number of children receiving the vaccine slowed things down, Carter said.

Syringes for the youngest children ran out well before the clinic ended at 9 p.m. and only children aged 2 or older were given the Flu Mist vaccine.

The vaccine was administered by public health and contract nurses, volunteers with the Delaware County Medical Reserve Corps and paramedics.

"I was exhausted when we were finally done, but it was exhilarating. You live for that public health moment, to serve that number of people in that short amount of time," said public health nurse Judy Dehn.

While some people grumbled about the number of people from surrounding counties seeking the vaccine, Veverka said clinics with federally supplied vaccine and conducted by local health departments must be open to all people, not just those living in the county where the clinics are held.

Residents can check on upcoming H1N1 flu clinics in Delaware County at www.del-awarehealth.org by calling (740) 203-2015, Carter said.