H1N1 vaccine clinics for ‘most vulnerable’ Nov. 14

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

The Siskiyou County Public Health and Community Development Department appreciates the efforts of local hospitals, medical providers, educators, county workers and child advocacy organizations who have been assisting in the prevention of serious complications from the 2009 Pandemic Novel H1N1 virus in Siskiyou County.  Although there have been few confirmed cases of H1N1 in our County, increased flu activity continues.

The CDC and in the State Public Officials have made an unprecedented effort to distribute 16.5 million doses of H1N1 vaccine throughout the nation.

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, acknowledged the delay in getting a sufficient supply of the vaccine to providers.  She reported that “The vaccine is coming out the door as fast as it comes off the production line.”

The Siskiyou County Health Department has received one of their first allocations of H1N1 vaccine products. Public Health will hold an H1N1 vaccination clinic for Siskiyou County residents on Saturday, Nov. 14. Clinics will be held at the Mt. Shasta Armory and the Yreka Armory from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Locations are: 1712 Fairlane Rd. in Yreka and 618 Everitt Memorial Hwy. in Mount Shasta. No fee will be charged for the H1N1 vaccination.

In an effort to vaccinate the most vulnerable individuals, these first two clinics will focus on administering vaccine to the following State and CDC recommended target groups:

• Pregnant women willing to receive vaccine containing thimerosal preservative;

• Household contacts (parents and caregivers) of infants under the age of 6 months;

• Children ages 6 months to 24 years;

• Ages  25 years-64 years with chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems

• Health care workers and first responders

Residents not in the identified target groups will not be able to receive the vaccination at the Nov. 14 clinic. Additional doses of the H1N1 vaccine are expected in the next few weeks, according the county Public Health department. Public Health will announce additional clinics when vaccine is available. In addition, residents can contact their physicians to find out if H1N1 vaccine is available.

Two H1N1 vaccine products will be available for distribution:

• Live attenuated H1N1 vaccine administered through a nasal spray for healthy candidates ages 2 through 49 years.

• Inactivated (killed) injectable H1N1 vaccine.

Both products cannot be given to anyone with egg allergies and will not be given to anyone with a fever.

The H1N1 vaccine without preservative is only available for children ages 6 months to 3 years. Use of the vaccine with thimerosal preservative has been approved for young children and pregnant women through a California State Waiver.

If residents have been sick with the flu this season, the H1N1 vaccine is still recommended. Public Health says, “Even though vaccination is our first line of defense against influenza, we still recommend the following steps to reducing spread of the virus:

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

• Avoid close contact with sick people.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  Germs spread this way.

Seasonal flu vaccine will also be available at the H1N1 clinics on Nov. 14. A $9 fee will be charged for the seasonal flu vaccine; however no one will be turned away for inability to pay.