News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
Visit us at www.nwhealth.org


Health Department offering H1N1 flu shots next week to those who need it most
With limited supply, vaccine only for certain high risk groups at this time


(October 23, 2009) With flu illness widespread throughout the region, public health officials are scrambling to get H1N1 vaccine out to those who are at highest risk of developing complications from the flu. H1N1 flu vaccine clinics tentatively scheduled next week:

H1N1 vaccinations from the Health Department are free. Clinics are set for Friday, October 30, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM in each county served by the Health Department of Northwest Michigan as follows:

There are no appointments; vaccination is on a walk-in, first come-first serve basis and only for those people who are most vulnerable to influenza. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices (ACIP) the first groups to immunize when vaccine supplies are limited are:

The Health Department's supplies of injectable vaccine are severely limited at this time; only those people who cannot get the vaccine in spray mist form will receive an H1N1 "shot" at the October 30 clinics. Pregnant women, children under two years old, and people with medical conditions described above will get an H1N1 injection. Also, anyone over age 50 who lives with or cares for an infant under six months old or who is a health care worker with direct patient contact will get an H1N1 injection. Everyone else in the current "vaccine priority sub-groups" will receive flu mist.

"We're asking community members to please let those who are most vulnerable get the vaccine first," said Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "We're in the early stages of a very long and challenging flu season. We've ordered more vaccine and Michigan Department of Community Health is shipping it out to local health departments as soon as they get it from the CDC."

Meyerson said to check the Health Department's website, www.nwhealth.org, for current information about the H1N1 clinics.

"It will be a long while before it's too late to protect yourself or your family members from either seasonal flu or H1N1 flu," Meyerson said. "The flu season typically lasts through April. CDC is watching for current flu activity to ebb over the next few weeks and then return in January, like it did during the last flu pandemic in the late 1950s. Vaccination is the best protection from the flu so we're saying, 'wait your turn, but get your shot'."

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. Additional H1N1 flu vaccination clinics will be announced as vaccine shipments arrive. For additional information about the H1N1 flu and flu clinics, visit www.nwhealth.org or call 800-432-4121.


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