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Washington H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine supply tops one million doses

High-risk groups urged to get vaccinated now

OLYMPIA More than a million doses of H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine have now been shipped to Washington since early October. The state’s supply is up to nearly 1.4 million doses. Vaccine is being ordered and shipped daily.

As the vaccine supply grows, high-risk groups remain the first priority until vaccine is widely available. Vaccine eligibility will then expand. Federal health leaders say there will eventually be enough vaccine for anyone who wants it. Supplies vary by community.

“Vaccination is the best protection against flu,” says Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “Check with your health care provider to find out if they have the vaccine for you and your family. As supply catches up with demand, the challenge will be to make sure everyone gets vaccinated.”

H1N1 vaccine is ordered through the state health department. It’s sent directly to local health agencies (www.doh.wa.gov/LHJMap/LHJMap.htm), health care providers, retail and grocery store pharmacies that provide it to clients and patients. The Department of Health H1N1 Web site (www.doh.wa.gov/h1n1/default.htm) has information on where to get vaccinated.

The groups recommended to get the vaccine first are pregnant women, people who live with or care for children under 6 months, health care and emergency medical services workers, people 6 months to 24 years, and people 25 to 64 with health conditions that may be worsened by the flu. The nasal spray vaccine can only be used in healthy people from 2 to 49 who aren’t pregnant.

H1N1 vaccination is voluntary. Adults who want the vaccine will need one dose; children nine and under will need two. Vaccine for seasonal and H1N1 flu may be given on the same day unless they’re both nasal spray vaccines. A seasonal flu nasal spray vaccine and an H1N1 nasal spray vaccine must be separated by at least four weeks.

The agency is providing H1N1 updates on Twitter (http://twitter.com/wa_deptofhealth). The Department of Health’s H1N1 Web site (www.doh.wa.gov/h1n1/default.htm) has more information on vaccine, as well as tips on how schools, businesses, and people at home can stay healthy this flu season.
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