DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
The Pandemic is Not Over: Get Your H1N1 Flu Shot at the next Clinic on Saturday, January 23, 2010
One certainty about the current H1N1 influenza pandemic is its unpredictability. With the latest reports now classifying H1N1 flu as regional and not widespread, the risk of letting defenses down increases. Health experts are clear with their message that now is not the time to forget that we are still in a pandemic.
"Children under 10 who received their first dose of H1N1 vaccine should be getting their "booster" shot," said Dr. Geralyn Prosswimmer, Hunterdon Pediatrics Associates. "The current data we have indicates that well more than half of these kids have not yet received their second doses. Parents must understand that it's not too late to get this second dose even if it's been longer than a month. We are also reminding parents that now is a good time for children who have not yet received their first dose of H1N1 vaccine to take advantage of available vaccine supplies."
With vaccine now more plentiful, it can be administered to the general public through primary care physicians, at health department H1N1 clinics, and through some local pharmacies.
"While we're still concerned about the original 'priority groups,' we're now reaching out to let everyone know we can offer free H1N1 shots," said John Beckley, health officer and director of the Hunterdon County Department of Health.
"We're working hard to make the clinic experience a smooth one for residents," said Rose Puelle, PhD, and director of the Public Health Preparedness division of the health department. "During our clinic last month, we surveyed a random portion of the attendees to assess how well we're doing on those grounds. I'm happy to report that 91 percent of a pool of 241 individuals considered their clinic experience as excellent."
The next two free county health department H1N1 clinics will be January 16 at the Hunterdon County Complex on Rt. 12 in Raritan Township and January 23 at the Clinton Township Middle School in Clinton. Both clinics are from 10am-4pm and open to all residents age 4 and older. At both events injectable vaccine and FluMist vaccine will be offered. FluMist, which contains no preservatives, will be administered to healthy individuals age 4-49, while the injectable vaccine will be available to individuals age 10 and older regardless of health condition.
Pre-registration is required for both clinics. Individuals under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. To pre-register, go to www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/health.htm or contact the health department H1N1 call center at 908-237-7150. Specific questions can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prior to arrival at the clinic, registered patients should read the Vaccine Information Form titled "What You Need to Know," and complete and sign the Vaccination Consent Form. Be sure to select the proper consent form that matches the type of vaccine you desire: FluMist or injectable. These forms can be found by clicking the link provided in an appointment confirmation e-mail registrants will receive. Consent forms will also be available at the clinic site.
In the event of inclement weather, residents should call the H1N1 call center or check the county health department web site after 8am on the day of the clinic.