H1N1 Clinic Scheduled
A limited supply of H1N1 vaccine has been received by Palo Alto County Community Health Services and shipments are expected to continue throughout the winter. Vaccination clinics will begin to be scheduled throughout the county as supply allows. The first clinics will be scheduled for specific groups of people in the priority groups set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
The first clinic will be open only to pregnant women and people who live with or care for children younger than six (6) months of age. This clinic will be held at Palo Alto County Hospital on Thursday, Oct. 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. Those who do not meet the qualification will not be given vaccine at this time.
“Children younger than six (6) months of age can not be vaccinated, so to protect them from the flu, it is important for pregnant women and those who care or live with these young children to be immunized”, commented Peg McNally, Director of Palo Alto County Community Health Services. “Children are the most affected by the H1N1 flu which is why they are a priority. As we receive more vaccine, we will open the clinics to more and more age groups and possibly offer clinics in the schools as well.”
The H1N1 vaccine will be free of charge and given in mist or shot form.
CDC officials remind residents the 2009 H1N1 vaccine is as safe as the seasonal influenza vaccine.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there,” said Peg McNally, Director of Palo Alto County Community Health. “The H1N1 vaccine is made by the same process, by the same companies, and tested in the same manner as the seasonal vaccine. There is no reason to believe there are any more risks associated with the H1N1 vaccine than the seasonal influenza vaccine.”
McNally says in a normal influenza season, the H1N1 vaccine would have been incorporated into the seasonal vaccine; however, because the seasonal vaccine was already in production when the H1N1 influenza was recognized, it was necessary for two vaccines to be created. Next year, the H1N1 strain will likely be included in the seasonal vaccination.
The seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine can be given at the same time, or at any time in regards to each, and in any sequence with one exception: if using the live nasal spray vaccine for BOTH the seasonal flu and H1N1, they should be given 4 weeks apart to ensure the best protection from both vaccines.
Information on this and future seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccination clinics for Palo Alto County will be released to local media as vaccine arrives.
For up-to-date information, residents can also check the hospital’s web site at www.pachs.com or call the Flu Hotline at (712) 852-5666.
A statewide toll-free hotline has been established for public questions about seasonal and H1N1 influenza at 1-800-447-1985.
More information can also be found at www.idph.state.ia.us.