H1N1 vaccine gets to area childrenBy the end of the year, about half of the state’s population will probably be immunized against the H1N1 flu virus.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
By the end of the year, about half of the state’s population will probably be immunized against the H1N1 flu virus.
According to Douglas County Public Health Director Sandy Tubbs, Minnesota was to receive about 2 million doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine, which is enough for about 50 percent of the population.
Beginning on Monday, November 30, the target groups for those who can receive the vaccine are back to what they were when the flu vaccine was first available. Those target groups are now:
•All pregnant women.
•Children ages 6 months through 24 years old.
•Parents and caregivers of children 6 months of age and younger.
•Adults ages 25 to 64 with underlying health conditions.
•All healthcare workers.
Tubbs doesn’t expect that the general population will have access to the H1N1 flu vaccine until after the first of the year. For the month of December, she added, the vaccine will only be available for those in the target groups.
Tubbs also commented on the school-based flu clinics, saying, “The first round went very well. Just over 1,100 doses of the vaccine were given to school children.”
She noted that public health and school officials are working on organizing more school-based clinics for those 10 years of age through 12th grade. She added that those in that age group won’t need two doses like the students who were 9 years of age and younger.
Both clinics in town – the Alexandria Clinic and Broadway Medical Center – are hosting H1N1 flu shot clinics. The clinics, which will take place from 1 to 5 p.m., started December 1 and will run through December 18.
Those in the targeted groups wishing to receive a vaccine at Alexandria Clinic are encouraged to call for an appointment. Broadway Medical Center H1N1 flu shot clinic will be conducted on a walk-in basis.
Tubbs is still advising the public to be patient about the H1N1 flu vaccine and highly encourages those in the targeted groups to get their vaccine.
Although the occurrence of the disease has diminished over the last couple of weeks, Tubbs said it is definitely not gone.
“The possibility exists for another wave,” she said.
For more information about the H1N1 flu, contact the toll-free 24-hour Minnesota FluLine at 1-866-259-4655.