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H1N1 Vaccination Clinics open to everyone

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People of all ages and levels of health can get their H1N1 vaccinations on Saturday, Dec. 12, through the Panhandle Health District (PHD), the first provider in the region to open its supplies to the general public.

“For those of you who have been so patient, we appreciate your patience,” said Jeanne Bock, Panhandle Health District director. “It’s your turn now. Come one and all.”
 
For weeks, PHD and other vaccine providers have followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and provided the vaccine to people at the greatest risk for complications and worse from H1N1 influenza. Vulnerable people not in the CDC’s vaccination target groups requested vaccinations but were asked to wait until demand from the target groups was met.
 
“It was heartbreaking to tell someone 66 years old who was in chemotherapy that the vaccine wasn’t available to them yet because they weren’t in a target group,” Bock said. “We’ve all been waiting for this time when there’s enough vaccine for everyone.”
 
Many other states are on the brink of providing the vaccine to all ages as supplies increase and demand is met. The vaccine is available to all ages in most health districts in Idaho.
 
PHD will provide H1N1 vaccinations on Saturday, Dec. 12, in each of the five northern counties to people of all ages. Appointments are necessary to prevent long lines in the cold weather. There is no charge for the vaccination.
 
Appointments can be made by calling the toll-free appointment line—877-415-5225—on Wednesday, Dec. 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 10, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Clinic locations will be given at that time.
 
Everyone expecting a vaccination will need to fill out a brief consent form. No insurance information is required. Consent forms are available at each clinic or can be printed off the PHD website—www.phd1.idaho.gov—and filled out at home to move through the vaccination process quicker
 
The H1N1 influenza virus has followed a similar path to previous flu pandemics. The numbers of people infected have dropped this month, but health officials believe the virus may return for a third round over the winter months. PHD encourages all people to get vaccinated to protect themselves and to slow the spread of the virus.
 
“We are anxious to provide protection to as many people as we can before the holidays,” Bock said.
 
The vaccine is available as flu shots and nasal mist.
 
Clinics on Dec. 12 will be held:
  • 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Boundary, Benewah and Shoshone counties;
  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Bonner County;
  • 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Post Falls
  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Hayden.
PHD continues to schedule vaccination clinics convenient to the public in the five northern counties as more vaccine arrives. To stay updated on clinic dates and times, visit www.phd1.idaho.gov or call PHD’s toll-free H1N1 hotline at 1-866-528-3501.       

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Cynthia Taggert Cynthia Taggert

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