Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Vaccine clinics Thursday

Summit health district to offer swine flu shots, spray for high-risk groups

The Summit County Health District will hold two H1N1 influenza vaccine clinics Thursday for people at high risk for complications from the flu.

Free vaccines will be available from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Copley-Fairlawn High School, 3797 Ridgewood Road, and Tallmadge Middle School, 484 East Ave.

At this time, public health agencies are limiting vaccination efforts to these priority groups, as identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention:

• Pregnant women.

• People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months.

• All people ages 6 months to 24 years.

• People ages 25 to 64 with chronic medical conditions.

• Health-care and emergency medical workers.

The health district is expecting to get about 9,000 shot and nasal-spray vaccines delivered this morning to distribute at the clinics, said Donna Skoda, the department's public information officer. The vaccines available this week will be primarily in the shot form.

The nasal spray version, known as Flu-Mist, can be used only by healthy people ages 2 through 49 who are not pregnant and do not have chronic illnesses.

People who received the seasonal Flu-Mist must wait 28 days to get the H1N1 nasal spray, according to public health officials. However, they can get the injectable form of the H1N1 flu vaccine sooner.

Last week, about 3,000 people were vaccinated by the Summit County Health District during two public clinics held to protect high-risk individuals against H1N1 influenza, also known as swine flu, Skoda said.

More clinics will be scheduled by Summit County's health departments and listed online at http://www.summitflu.org as the vaccine becomes available.

''We're looking at targeting specific groups and looking at specialized clinics for children and pregnant women,'' Skoda said.

For more information about the upcoming Summit County vaccine clinics, call 330-926-1801.

In Portage County, health departments are planning school-based vaccinations this week.

The health departments recently sent home letters and consent forms to parents in the Waterloo and Garfield school districts, as well as to parents of juniors and seniors who attend Maplewood Career Center.

''Because vaccine continues to be limited, the best option for parents right now is to take advantage of the school-based clinics,'' Dr. Angela DeJulius, Portage County medical director, said in a prepared statement.

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