First shipment of H1N1 vaccine arrives in Contra Costa County
October 6, 2009
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The first doses of H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine have arrived in Contra Costa and more is expected in the coming weeks, health officials reported Tuesday.
The initial shipment is about 7,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine in nasal form and will be distributed at school-based clinics in the next few weeks, said Contra Costa Public Health Communicable Disease Program Chief Francie Wise. By the end of October, more than 100,000 doses of vaccine are expected to be available in Contra Costa in nasal and shot form and more will follow.
"This is just the beginning of a long vaccination effort. Over the next weeks and months, regular shipments of vaccine will arrive in Contra Costa and it is expected that there will be enough for everyone who wants to receive it. We appreciate the public's patience as we undertake this effort," Wise said. "We urge everyone to get vaccinated because it is the best protection against H1N1, which has made many people sick and been related to six deaths in our county."
Because the first shipment of vaccine is in nasal form, not everyone can receive it. Only healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49 can receive the nasal vaccine, and the state health department has identified healthy children as a priority. Regular seasonal flu clinics were already scheduled at 49 elementary schools throughout Contra Costa over several weeks in October so students at those schools will receive these initial doses, Wise said.
"Children are more likely to get H1N1 and many children were sick last spring. By starting with school-aged children at the clinics we can get the vaccine out quickly and help prevent the spread of H1N1 in our community and so help protect everyone," Wise said.
As more vaccine becomes available, Contra Costa residents will have more options on how to get the vaccine. People are encouraged to contact their health care providers first. When available, vaccine will be distributed to doctors who have signed up to receive it.
As more vaccine arrives, the H1N1 vaccine will be offered at Contra Costa Public Health's free community drive-through clinics in November, which are intended for people who cannot get seasonal or H1N1 vaccine from their own health care providers.
Everyone is encouraged to get both the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines when they become available. The following groups should be sure to get the H1N1 vaccine: pregnant women, children and young adults ages 6 months to 24 years old, and adults ages 25 to 64 who have chronic health disorders such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma or compromised immune systems. Other groups that should get vaccinated for both seasonal and H1N1 flu are health care workers, emergency medical services personnel and those who care for young children under 6 months of age. In the meanwhile, everyone can help protect themselves, their loved ones and their community by following these prevention tips: wash hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home from school or work if sick.
For H1N1 updates in English and Spanish, visit Contra Costa Health Services' website at www.cchealth.org or call the 1-888-959-9911 or 211 for prerecorded health information. A podcast also is available on the website: http://cchealth.org/topics/podcast/
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- Kate Fowlie