Community Readies for Arrival of H1N1 Vaccine - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Community Readies for Arrival of H1N1 Vaccine

City of Midland Press Release

The first, small amounts of H1N1 influenza (swine flu) vaccine have been released by the federal government and will be arriving locally in the next couple of weeks to Midland County. The vaccine will be a nasal mist.

Officials with the Midland Health Department are developing plans, based on how many vaccinations are received, to distribute them as quickly as possible.  The information will be distributed to the public through the media and Internet. 

Vaccine arrival and priority

In mid-October, shipments of vaccine are expected to begin to arrive weekly and will be available for people at higher risk of H1N1 influenza as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

       Health Care Providers

       Emergency Personnel

       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

Ways to get vaccine

As larger amounts of vaccine become available, multiple entities will be providing it in the community. More information will be forthcoming as vaccine becomes available. For more information you may go to:  http://www.midlandtexas.gov and click on Public Health, or texasflu.org.

Examples of H1N1 Vaccine Providers:

        Regular health care providers - such as pediatricians, family practice doctors and obstetricians.

       Pharmacies and other commercial vendors - like seasonal flu, most major pharmacy chains will offer H1N1 vaccine to the public.

       Community vaccination clinics - Public Health will offer public vaccination clinics. These clinics will be focused on vaccinating people who have limited or no access to the health care system. Employers of health care and emergency medical services personnel will provide vaccine to their employees who provide patient care.

There is no charge for H1N1 vaccine. An administration fee may be charged. Insurance may cover the charge.

Types of vaccine

There are two types of H1N1 flu vaccine:

  1. The injectable "flu shot" is given with a needle, usually in the arm. There are different formulations and dosing for the shot.
  2. Nasal-spray flu vaccine is a weakened live virus vaccine that can be given to healthy people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant, including household contacts of most people who are at highest risk for serious complications of the flu.

Seasonal flu vaccine protects against three strains of seasonal influenza virus that may circulate this fall and winter. Seasonal flu is separate from the H1N1 influenza vaccine and is widely available from pharmacies and some healthcare providers now. Seasonal flu vaccine also comes in injectable and nasal-spray forms. People in high risk groups for seasonal flu strains (such as seniors) and anyone who wants it should get both H1N1 and seasonal influenza vaccines so that they are fully protected.

Local flu activity

As Public Health makes preparations for vaccine delivery, local monitoring for influenza has detected increasing levels of activity in the community through September, including higher numbers of people reporting with influenza-like symptoms in local emergency rooms. Flu activity is expected to continue to increase over the coming weeks to potentially high levels.

People can help slow the spread of H1N1 influenza until the vaccine is available by taking simple steps, including:

       If you are sick, stay home from work or school. Remain home for at least 24 hours after fever has passed (without the use of fever-reducing medications).

       Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or inner elbow.

       Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. If access to soap and water isn't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

For updates and more information on H1N1 influenza visit www.midlandtexas.gov or http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/txflu, call the Flu Hotline, 211, 24 hours/day (English and Spanish).

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