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Health department to give H1N1 flu shots Wednesday

Beginning Nov. 4, the 14 county health departments in Southwest Health
District will begin administering injectable H1N1 vaccine to priority
groups most at risk of developing complications if infected with the
virus. Grady County Health Department received its allotment Tuesday.
“We are dividing and distributing approximately 2,500 doses of the
injectable form of the H1N1 vaccine among the counties,” said
Southwest Health District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant. “This
is in addition to around 1,500 doses of H1N1 nasal spray vaccine already
available at county health departments.”
The vaccine is free, but insurance carriers may be billed an
administration fee.
“We are excited to be able to offer this option to the community,”
said Grady County Health Department County Nurse Manager Peggy Connell.
“We are looking forward to being able to reach out to more at-risk
populations, particularly those who cannot take the H1N1 nasal mist
Priority groups identified by the National Centers for Disease Control
to receive the initial doses of injectable H1N1 vaccine include:
§    Pregnant women
§    Healthcare and emergency medical personnel
§    People who live with or care for infants younger than 6 months
§    Anyone from 6 months to 24 years old
§    Anyone aged 25 to 64 with underlying medical conditions that put
them at risk for flu-related complications
    “When our doors open Wednesday morning, we will begin
administering H1N1 vaccine, both injectable and nasal mist,” Connell
said. “If we have sufficient vaccine, we may also hold extended-hours
flu vaccine clinics on Thursdays until 7:30 p.m. to remove barriers for
people who have difficulty coming in during the work day. Eventually we
will have enough H1N1 vaccine for everyone who wants it. But for now, it
is best to check with the health department about Thursday extended-hour
clinics first.”
Grant stressed that the vaccine is made by the same manufacturers using
the same processes as regular seasonal flu vaccine. “No corners were
cut to produce this vaccine. People who feel comfortable getting
vaccinated against seasonal flu can be comfortable with the safety of
the H1N1 vaccine,” she said. “Vaccination is our best protection
against this disease.”

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