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Health Department planning vaccinations

Friday, October 9, 2009

Clay County Health Officer Dr. S. Rahim Farid, has told The Brazil Times that the Clay County Health Department and the Clay Community Schools Corporation will soon be scheduling H1N1 influenza vaccination clinics at the Clay Community Schools for all school-age children.

The vaccine given at the schools will most likely be inactive injections. Live nasal spray vaccine requires spacing between live seasonal and live H1N1 vaccines. By using the inactive version, the children's vaccines will not be delayed.

It is our plan that St. Vincent Clay Hospital will offer H1N1 vaccination clinics at the same time for people not of school age. However, it is important to remember that clinics are subject to the arrival date of the H1N1 vaccine and quantities received. Some family physicians will have the vaccines so interested citizens should contact their family doctor and eventually some local pharmacies may also carry the H1N1 vaccine. More information will be forthcoming.

Initially, those who will receive the H1N1 vaccine will need to fit into a target group according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. After the target groups are completed the rest of the population will be able to get their vaccinations pending CDC approval.

The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended children and young adults aged 6 months through 24 years be vaccinated against H1N1 as soon as the vaccine is available. Other target groups recommended to get the first doses of H1N1 influenza vaccine are:

* Pregnant women,

* People who live with or care for children younger than 6-months-of-age,

* Health care and emergency medical services workers, and

* People ages 25 through 64 years who have chronic health conditions such as HIV, diabetes, heart or lung disease.

Regular immunization clinics and seasonal flu vaccinations at the Health Department may have to be delayed or rescheduled until H1N1 clinics are completed. Citizens may call the Clay County Health Department with any questions at 448-9019.

Clay County Health Department has well-prepared plans in place. The goal is to remain flexible to adjust to ever-changing conditions and the incremental manufacturing and distribution of the H1N1 vaccine. Community organizations and leadership have come together to make the H1N1 vaccine available to as many people as possible in Clay County.

There are other ways to prevent the spread of flu, including:

* Cover your nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it,

* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub,

* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, Germs spread that way, and

* Stay home if you get sick with flu like symptoms.

There are two types of influenza vaccine: Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine -- LAIV -- (nasal spray) and Inactivated Influenza Vaccine.

LAIV contains live but attenuated (weakened) influenza virus. It is sprayed into the nostrils. The 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine is approved for people from 2- through 49-years-of-age who are not pregnant and do not have certain health conditions.

Inactivated (killed) vaccine is given by injection into the muscle.

To report a case of the Influenza A or H1N1 influenza virus, contact the Clay County Health Department at 448-9019.

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So why are they not worried about the seasonal flu as well? It kills more people than the H1N1. Maybe they are taking for granted that people are already getting immunized for that?? I hope that message is being heard.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Sat, Oct 10, 2009, at 8:26 AM

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