Vaccine limited|Officials: Targeted groups eligible for H1N1 shot
Published 7:54 am Thursday, October 29, 2009
By By Kerry Whipple Bean
A limited number of H1N1 vaccines will be available at a clinic at the Escambia County Health Department today, but health officials are urging only those people in five high-risk groups to come to get the vaccine.
Those at high risk of contracting the H1N1 flu are:
Escambia County will have 400 doses of the vaccine today, with 200 to be distributed beginning at 9 a.m. at each of the health department offices in Brewton and Atmore.
As of Tuesday, the state had received 55,000 doses of injectible vaccine, which was distributed to county health departments based on population.
In a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Bob Riley urged cooperation from the public because of the limited supply.
State health officer Dr. Donald Williamson said the incidence of H1N1 flu appears to be declining in the state, although he cautioned that the flu is still widespread across the state. Reports of patients with flu-like symptoms at doctor’s offices and emergency rooms is down, as are school absences, he said.
But he noted that previous flu outbreaks have seen a “third wave” the following spring.
The state health department had hoped to organize flu vaccination clinics are schools across the state in early November, but the delay in production of H1N1 vaccine has put any such plans on hold.
The state and private healthcare providers have ordered about 2.5 million doses of vaccine, and Williamson said the best estimates show that 63 percent of those doses will arrive after Dec. 1.
So far, 22 people in Alabama have died as a result of swine flu, including one man in his 40s in Escambia County.
The latest reported deaths were in Shelby County and Talledega County, both in individuals over 65.
But Williamson said that age group is not included in the target group for the vaccine because people over 65 are not considered at high risk for contracting H1N1 flu.