VACCINES ARRIVE FOR H1N1 FLU, CLINICS OPEN THIS WEEKEND

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Pregnant women, children, healthcare workers and infants’ caregivers urged to get vaccinated
October 24, 2009 (San Diego) - A new shipment of 102,000 doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine arrived in San Diego on Friday. Seven public health clinics will be open extended hours over the weekend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to vaccinate high-risk individuals. The shipment includes both nasal spray and injectible forms of the vaccine. To learn location of clinics, visit www.sdiz.org or call 211. If enough vaccine is left after the weekend, vaccinations will also be offered weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Doses will also be distributed to hospitals for vaccination of healthcare workers and hospitalized patients.
 

“We know that it has reached pandemic proportions,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, said of the H1N1 flu virus which has killed 25 San Diegans , hospitalized at least 348 individuals, and spread to at least 29 area schools. The vaccines will be provided to highest-risk groups including pregnant women, children from preschool through middle school, healthcare workers/emergency responders, and people with infants under six months in their homes, since young babies cannot receive the vaccine.
 

“More will be coming in. We have been promised about 411,000 doses,” Jacob said, adding that shipments are arriving slower than expected. “Everybody still needs to be reminded to exercise good hygiene,” the Supervisor added. She urged people who are ill to stay home from school and work. Avoiding shaking hands and coughing into one’s sleeve also helps limit spread of the disease, she noted.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, County public health director, urged people to come to the County clinics if your doctor hasn’t ordered the vaccine or if you don’t have a primary care physician. For individuals who have a primary physicians and who don’t fall into the high-risk categories listed above, Wooten asked, “Please be patient…Check with your doctors.” Physicians should be receiving supplies over the next several weeks, she added.

Dr. Mark Sawyer, medical director of San Diego Immunization Partnership, offered assurances that the vaccines are safe. Common side effects of the injectlble version include sore arm, redness, and sometimes low-grade fever. These side effects typically last one day and are most common in people receiving a flu vaccine for the first time. Side effects from the nasal spray vaccine may include stuffy or runny nose or sore throat, typically lasting one day.
 

“There is nothing different about this vaccine than any other influenza vaccine,” Sawyer assured, adding that the H1N1 vaccine has gone through the same manufacturing, testing and approval process of any flu vaccine, with monitoring systems in place for side effects.
 

To learn more about the H1N1 outbreak in San Diego County, visit http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/Portal/flu/H1N1vaccine.html and http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/Portal/News/swineflu.html.