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Sep 29, 2009 11:47 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

County to offer swine flu vaccinations at health clinics

Sep 29, 2009 11:47 AM

People seeking immunization shots for the swine flu, otherwise known as the H1N1 virus, will be able to get them for free at Suffolk County health centers this fall.

Pregnant women, young people ages 6 months to 24 years, the elderly and anyone with an underlying illness should be the first to get the vaccinations, Suffolk County Health Department spokeswoman Grace McGovern said. The vaccine is expected to be released to New York by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in mid-October, according to New York State Health Department spokesman Tom Allocco.

The State Health Department is responsible for directing the distribution of the vaccine to county health departments, local hospitals, pharmacists and medical providers. That means, in addition to the county clinics, patients will be able to get the vaccinations from local hospitals and from their personal doctors.

In anticipation of the flu season, the CDC advised earlier this month that children should receive both the seasonal flu vaccine and the swine flu vaccine. The flu season typically begins in late September or early October.

“The allocation of vaccine for each state is based on population, and we anticipate that New York State will receive 6 percent of the total amount available,” Mr. Allocco said in an e-mail this week. “We are encouraging New Yorkers to get the seasonal flu shot, which is available now, and not to wait until the HINI vaccine becomes available.”

New York State health insurers will be required by the state to cover both regular and swine flu vaccinations for children 19 years of age and younger, Governor David Paterson announced last week. Uninsured children who cannot afford the vaccine can receive it at no charge from public health clinics or private physicians through the federal Vaccines for Children Program, which is administered by the CDC.

“As we prepare for the upcoming flu season and the expected resurgence of the novel H1N1 virus, we are working to ensure that New York’s families have access to the resources they need to keep their children healthy,” Mr. Paterson said in a statement.

Ms. McGovern said vaccinations will be available beginning in mid-October at all 10 county health clinics, located in communities including East Hampton, Southampton and Riverhead. Several county-owned mobile health clinics are also expected to carry the vaccine, she said.

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Do Not Take the Shot!!!
By wolf22 (7), Montauk on Sep 21, 09 10:03 AM