Swine flu clinic today

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Pike County Health Department will distribute H1N1 vaccinations today, but only to those considered in a high-risk category.

“We must target our limited amounts of vaccine to individuals at the higher risk because of the uncertainties in supply we face,” said State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson, in a press conference.

These individuals include: pregnant women, children six months to 4 years in age, parents, siblings and caregivers of children less than six months old, children 5 to 18 years old who have underlying medical conditions and health care workers.

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“We follow CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommendations, and these are at-risk populations,” said Debbie Baker, Pike County Health Department clinic supervisor. “We do encourage they get their vaccines.”

The Pike County Health Department will issue vaccinations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or until supplies run out, Baker said.

Pike County will receive 400 swine flu shots in this first round, out of the 55,000 that will be distributed across the state.

While these shots will arrive at the health department today, some local doctor’s offices have already been giving vaccines.

Troy Pediatrics and the Charles Henderson Child Healthcare Center are examples.

Janet Mobley, nursing supervisor for Troy Pediatrics, said the office has been issuing swine flu vaccinations to anyone who wants one.

“We had some people that haven’t wanted it, but we’ve had a lot come in and ask for it,” Mobley said.

While Mobley said there aren’t restrictions on who can get the shot from their office, she recommends it especially for those in the CDC’s high-risk category, as well as for individuals with asthma or diabetes.

Tammy Ellis, nursing supervisor at the CHCHC, said the office still has shots to distribute but only for those in this category.

“Since there is a shortage, we’re only giving to children four and under and with preexisting conditions,” Ellis said. “We’re not giving it to everybody.”

Ellis said the CHCHC received 500 shots initially, and half have been used in just nine days.

Other doctors offices have ordered the vaccinations.

Cheryl DiChiara, office manager for Pike Internal Medicine, said their office has placed an order, but she’s uncertain when those vaccinations will arrive.

Baker said this is the health department’s first swine flu vaccination clinic, but she doesn’t expect it to be the last.

“We’re expecting others,” Baker said.

Baker said the clinic today will be of no charge, but those with insurance can bring their cards to file.