• By Lynne Mitchell
  • Posted Friday, October 9, 2009

Health Dept. to Begin Providing H1N1 Flu Vaccine on Tuesday

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health will be offering flu vaccine for the H1N1 novel strain of the flu to children on Tuesday, October 13th, starting at 1:00 pm at the Health Department at 799 N. Highland Ave., Winston Salem. The vaccine will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the clinic will remain open until 8:00 pm as long as vaccine is available. At this time, the Health Department has only 1,700 doses of the vaccine.

The vaccine that will be available on Tuesday is the H1N1 Nasal Mist. It is a live attenuated (weakened) vaccine and is administered as a mist into the nose. It is not an injection. This type of vaccine is recommended only for individuals between the ages of 2 years and 49 years who do not have any chronic illness. It should not be given to pregnant women or to individuals with chronic illnesses including asthma. Because children are at higher risk of complications from the flu and because of the high prevalence of flu in the schools at this time, on Tuesday, the vaccine will only be offered to children 2 to 18 years of age who do not have health problems. Children under 10 years of age will need to receive a booster dose of vaccine 3 to 4 weeks after the first dose. This vaccine will not provide protection against the seasonal flu. Those individuals who wish to have maximum protection from the flu this year are encouraged to receive both vaccines.

The vaccine will be provided at no charge. The Health Department will not be collecting payment or billing individuals for administration of the vaccine. However, if children have private insurance or Medicaid, their parents are asked to bring their insurance or Medicaid cards. The County will be able to bill Medicaid or the insurance company for the cost of administration and recover some of the costs of the vaccination process. There will be no out-of-pocket cost for the patient or family.

Parents are encouraged to be patient with regard to obtaining vaccine for their children, and ultimately for themselves and others who will need it. The Federal Government is assuring us that there will eventually be enough vaccine for everyone who wishes to receive it. However, the vaccine will be distributed to communities fairly slowly over several weeks or months. Local health departments, hospitals, physicians’ offices, pharmacies, and others will be providing it to the public. Most individuals will be able to receive the vaccine through their own private health care providers’ offices. For those who do not have a private health care provider, the Health Department will be providing it.

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