H1N1 flu vaccine: King County expands eligibility

Another news release to share – just in from Seattle-King County Public Health – the shortage of H1N1 vaccine has eased and now they say anyone 6 months or older is eligible – read on for the full announcement:

Starting this Saturday, December 12, those eligible to receive H1N1 influenza vaccine will be expanded to everybody six months of age and older in King County . Depending on early demand among this broader group, supplies may be limited for a time at some locations.

Public Health – Seattle & King County is taking this next step in widening H1N1 vaccine eligibility because many health care providers in King County are now reporting that they are able to meet the demand for their highest risk patients and vaccine supplies are increasing and expected to continue to rise steadily.

“We’re pleased that many of our highest risk residents have been vaccinated and that we have enough vaccine now to open eligibility to anyone who wants it,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County . “Even though flu has peaked, at least temporarily, H1N1 illness continues in our community. Getting vaccinated is still a very good idea.”

As of December 4, an estimated 380,000 people in King County who are at high-risk for complications have been vaccinated for H1N1 influenza, and an additional 58,000 doses of vaccine are on the ground or in the process of being shipped to vaccine providers in the county.

Vaccination continues to be particularly important for people at highest risk for H1N1, including pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, people between 25 through 64 years of age with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems, and healthcare and emergency workers

New clinics and vaccine availability

H1N1 vaccine is available from local health care providers and pharmacies; see availability at pharmacies.

Additionally, some health centers are offering free H1N1 vaccination to people who cannot afford to pay. Clinics will be held this Saturday, December 12, Wednesday, December 16, and Saturday, December 19.

This Saturday’s HealthPoint free H1N1 clinics are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or while supplies last. Locations are:

· Auburn HealthPoint: 126 Auburn Avenue, Suite 400
· Kent HealthPoint: 403 E. Meeker
· Redmond HealthPoint: 16315 NE 87th Street, Suite B6
· SeaTac HealthPoint: 4040 S. 188th Street

Public Health will have free H1N1 clinics this Saturday and next Saturday, December 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and next Wednesday, December 16 from noon to 7 p.m. Locations are:

· Seattle: Columbia Public Health Center, 4400 37th Ave South
· Seattle: North Public Health Center, 10501 Meridian Ave North
· Bellevue: Eastgate Public Health Center , 14350 SE Eastgate Way
· Renton Public Health Center, 3001 NE 4th Street
· Federal Way Public Health Center, 33431 13th Place South

Vaccinations are first come, first served, and no reservations will be taken. If demand is high, people will be given a designated time later that day to return and receive their vaccination. Once supply is exhausted, people will be informed as soon as they arrive.

For more information on future clinics and other H1N1 updates, visit: www.kingcounty.gov/health/H1N1. The Flu Hotline at 877-903-KING (5464) is staffed with operators to answer questions from King County residents about H1N1 influenza. The Flu Hotline is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with special 24-hour nurse line service extended over the weekend for people with flu seeking medical care advice. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day.

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