11 H1N1 public vaccine clinics and 40 school-based clinics this week

For Immediate Release:  Dec. 8, 2009
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health continues to urge people most at risk for serious complications from the H1N1 flu virus to get vaccinated and protect themselves from illness. Eleven public vaccine clinics and 40 school clinics are scheduled this week.

“Flu illness is waning for now, but there’s still lots of H1N1 flu around,” said Chris Finley, immunization program chief for the Health Department. “Flu can ruin your holidays, and it’s preventable. This is a good time to get vaccinated if you’re eligible. It takes a week or so to be fully protected.”

Like seasonal flu vaccine, the H1N1 vaccine comes in two forms: nasal spray and the shot. To date, more than 80,000 doses have been administered, and more is coming into the state every week.

One of the clinics (Dec. 8 at the Fletcher Allen HealthCare Academy Building on the Fanny Allen campus in Colchester) is offering nasal spray only. Other clinics have both nasal spray and flu shot in supply. The nasal spray is recommended for healthy people age 2 to 49 who are not pregnant.

“Many health care providers, EMS personnel and family members or caregivers of babies younger than 6 months can get the nasal spray form of the vaccine to protect themselves and those people they care for,” Finley said . “The nasal spray is a live but weakened virus. The vaccine provokes an immune response you cannot get the flu from the vaccine.”

The Health Department continues to promote the nasal spray form of the H1N1 vaccine, which is safe and effective and accounts for approximately 20 percent of all the state’s available supply.

Public clinics are open to anyone in the high risk groups who are not being vaccinated elsewhere – at school or college, in hospitals or health care provider offices. Target groups include: pregnant women, anyone who lives with or provides care for infants younger than 6 months, health care workers and EMS personnel, anyone age 6 months through 24 years, and anyone age 25 through 64 who has a medical condition that puts them at higher risk for flu complications.

A total of 33 public H1N1 clinics have been held to date in collaboration with Vermont’s Visiting Nurse Associations and home health agencies, with 31 more scheduled into February of 2010.

Public H1N1 vaccine clinics are generally open to eligible people of all ages. School clinics are set up exclusively for students, who must have parental permission before being vaccinated, and eligible staff.

Information on public and school clinics is available at the Health Department’s Web site: www.healthvermont.gov or by dialing 2-1-1. You can follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/healthvermont.

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