| www.co.hunterdon.nj.us | Department of Health | 2009 Public Information & Notices | H1N1 and Seasonal Flu Vaccine Update
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
IMPORTANT UPDATE NOVEMBER 12, 2009: We’re sorry but the November 15 Flu Mist Clinic cannot accept any more patients. All appointment slots have been taken. Please monitor the Health Department web site for notice of when registration will open for future clinics.
~ HUNTERDON COUNTY H1N1 FLU CLINIC ANNOUNCED - Sunday November 15, 2009 ~
The Hunterdon County Department of Health will host a special limited H1N1 influenza clinic this Sunday November 15 for healthy children ages 2 to 24 years and for caregivers of children less than 6 months old. Caregivers themselves must be less than 50 years old. The health department also announced seven upcoming school-located clinics during which H1N1 vaccine will be administered.
Because the clinic held this Sunday will dispense only a live attenuated intranasal vaccine (Flu Mist), all persons receiving vaccine must be healthy with no serious, underlying chronic health conditions. The very limited (443) number of nasal spray doses will be made available by pre-registration on a first come first served basis. The nasal spray vaccine is not suitable for pregnant women. The event will run from noon to 4 p.m. at the Hunterdon County Complex, Building One, on Rt. 12. This is the compound where the main library is located.
Pre-registration is required for the Sunday clinic and each of the seven school-located clinics. Walk-ins will not be admitted. Individuals under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. At this time, registration is open only for the Sunday clinic. Registration for the seven school-located clinics will open on the health department website at www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/health.htm only when vaccine is received. Residents should check the site frequently. The specifics for these clinics are being announced now so residents can plan their attendance in advance.
"We are asking residents to keep this information and refer to it during the next several weeks as we open registration for the upcoming clinics," explained John Beckley, health officer and director of the Hunterdon County Department of Health. "As soon as vaccine shipments arrive, we will update the website to announce the opening of registration. The unfortunate unpredictability of vaccine distribution has thus far prevented us from moving forward on plans we've made months ago. But we are looking for that to change, now."
The seven school-located H1N1 clinics are primarily for 10- to 24-year-old children and caregivers of children less than six months old. When registration opens for these clinics, parents should first attempt to pre-register their child (or children) for the location serving their school district. If parents cannot attend the clinic serving their school district, they may pre-register for any other clinic location. The clinics will be held only if sufficient vaccine is available. Everyone registered for an appointment should check for an email advising them of a clinic postponement or cancellation, or check the county health department web site 24 hours before the clinic to be sure that it is still on.
To pre-register for this Sunday's Flu Mist clinic, go to the county health department web site and follow the directions that are provided.
Be sure to print out the information sheet and consent form that is highlighted on your confirming email and bring the completed consent form with you for your appointment. Those who do not have access to a computer can register by using computers available at various libraries around the county, or by calling the health department H1N1 Call Center at 908-237-7150.
Following are the seven school-located clinics to be held only if sufficient vaccine is available:
"This is an extraordinary year presenting many challenges, not the least being vaccine shipment delays," explained Beckley. "Considering the lack of plentiful vaccine, we're asking county residents to understand the importance of offering these initial doses to those among us who are most at risk before we begin offering vaccine across the general population.
"For more than three months we've worked closely with the medical community, the county schools, and public and private partners throughout Hunterdon so that residents can understand the risk of this disease, take preventative measures and receive vaccination once vaccine is available. These clinics are only a part of our effort, not the sum total. We are taking action to use limited resources as wisely as possible based on a changing situation. Because conditions are changing rapidly at this time, I encourage everyone to check our website daily. We will post any changes or updates as soon as we get them."
Working along guidelines provided by the CDC, the county health department earlier provided primary care physicians with a portion of its limited vaccine supplies so practices could begin administering the H1N1 flu shots to their own staff, to high-risk children less than 5 years old with underlying medical conditions and to women who are pregnant.
"We've also moved ahead with vaccinating first-responders and school nurses who need the protection that this flu shot provides," said Rose Puelle, director of the Public Health Preparedness division of the health department. "These efforts help to ensure that essential health care workers are available to address the needs of the community as we move through this pandemic."