Archuleta and La Plata counties received their initial supply of H1N1 vaccine Oct. 9. These first 800 nasal spray doses are being distributed to hospitals for vaccinating their front line health care workers and to other medical providers with direct patient contact.
The nasal spray vaccine is licensed for healthy people age 2 through 49 who are not pregnant.
“It’s important that these first relatively few doses go to people who are seeing sick people,” said Lynn Westberg, San Juan Basin Health Department Director. “That way both the patient and health worker are protected.”
San Juan Basin Health Department expects the next shipment of vaccine at the end of next week. This small allotment will be targeted to pregnant women and people who live with or care for infants younger than 6 months of age.?
H1N1 vaccination is voluntary and will be provided to target groups first, those at highest risk of getting H1N1 flu and developing complications of H1N1 flu, based on CDC scientific analysis of disease activity.
“We need to ensure that those most vulnerable in our community have the opportunity to get vaccinated first,” Westberg said. “We want our community to know that no shortage of H1N1 flu vaccine is currently expected.” Once demand by the higher-risk groups has been met and supplies are available, H1N1 vaccine will be provided to anyone who wishes to receive it.
H1N1 flu vaccine will be available to members of the public beginning in mid November as part of a large-scale effort involving local agencies, physician offices, pharmacies — all coordinated by the San Juan Basin Health Department. Some of these agencies include the Medical Reserve Corps and area school districts.
San Juan Basin Health Department plans to provide community H1N1 vaccination clinics at various locations as well as at schools in Archuleta Counties beginning early November. Additionally, some local providers have agreed to administer the H1N1 vaccine to their patients.?
Individuals will be offered H1N1 vaccine in one of two forms — nasal mist or shots, depending on their age, health status, vaccine availability, and other factors as determined by public health experts. Both are designed to cause the body to create antibodies to fight H1N1 flu. The Federal government is supplying the H1N1 vaccine as part of a massive effort to battle the H1N1 flu pandemic. The vaccine will be provided by the Health Department at no charge.?
For updates on future clinic dates and times, visit San Juan Basin Health Department Web site www.sjbhd.org or call the FluLine at 247-5702, Ext. 1520. You can also call Colorado’s toll-free Help Line at (877) 462-2911 for a live operator with your flu questions.