Shortages of swine and seasonal flu vaccine appear to be a thing of the past, and according Waldo County General Hospital Nurse Epidemiologist Rob Fowler, hospitalizations from influenza-like illnesses have been few and far between.

Fowler said the hospital has just finished a round of school clinics and has been holding regular public vaccination clinics at its education center. The hospital continues to offer the vaccine through its primary-care physicians. Beginning Jan. 19, doses of the vaccine became available at the Public Health Office — 119 Northport Ave., across from WCGH.

“I think we’re starting to reach the people who wanted it,” Fowler said.

According to the Maine Centers for Disease Control, 800,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine have been distributed statewide and supplies are readily available. Cases of H1N1 spiked in November, when as many as 120 cases were reported in a single two-week period. During the first two weeks of January fewer than five cases were reported statewide.

The CDC lists 229 hospitalizations and 18 deaths from H1N1 in Maine since April 2009. That figure includes 43 confirmed cases and two hospitalizations in Waldo County. In Knox county, there have been 43 confirmed cases and six hospitalizations. A Jan. 14 memo from the CDC recommends that physicians offer H1N1 vaccinations to every patient at every visit, unless the patient has a counter-indication.

Fowler said there have been one to two hospitalizations per month at WCGH from influenza-like illnesses, and generally doctors at the hospital are reporting more colds than flus. Seasonal flu has yet to make an appearance, he said.

Despite questions about the efficacy of some H1N1 vaccine, Fowler said none of the vaccines have been recalled. Children under 10 years old are still recommended to get a booster vaccination, provided it has been at least 28 days since the initial dose.

“We may see another round of H1N1 in the spring, but we’ll be ready for it,” he said.