Tuesday, December 15, 2009

H1N1 vaccine availability has increased; restrictions on H1N1 vaccine lifted

***If you have questions, please call Los Angeles County Public Health media line at (213)240-8144.***

For Immediate Release:
December 15, 2009

Put This on Your Holiday To-Do List: Get H1N1 Vaccine
Vaccine availability has increased; restrictions on H1N1 vaccine

LOS ANGELES - The growing H1N1 vaccine supply, which comprises just
over 2.4 million doses available to date in Los Angeles County, has
prompted the county Health Officer, Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, to
announce that vaccine can now be provided to individuals outside of the
five vaccine priority groups.

"Adequate vaccine supply has arrived in Los Angeles County, allowing
providers to administer H1N1 vaccine to any patient over the age of six
months for whom it is not otherwise contraindicated," said Jonathan E.
Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. "As
more H1N1 vaccine becomes available through private doctors and local
community health clinics, almost anyone who wants to receive the vaccine
should be able to get it. It is important that residents take advantage
of the protection that H1N1 vaccine offers, especially during the
holiday season where catching the flu means missing planned celebrations
or travel."

Certain retail pharmacies should receive at least some H1N1 vaccine by
the end of December, and will administer vaccine for a small fee. A
limited number of appointments for no-cost H1N1 vaccine will be
available at an LA County Public Health center for residents who do not
have health insurance or a regular source of health care. For locations
and operating hours of clinics or health centers, visit the LA County
Public Health website at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov or call
the LA County Information Line at 2-1-1.

"Though it appears that the second wave of H1N1 flu has peaked,
influenza remains active in LA County and most people are still
susceptible to becoming ill. Also, we can not determine if there will be
a third wave of flu in the future. The H1N1 virus was not detected in
the U.S. until late April of this year, and flu season typically lasts
until May, so another wave of flu is certainly possible," said Dr.

Individuals in the priority groups are still at greater risk of
infection and should make a special effort to get vaccinated. If you are
in a priority group for H1N1 vaccine and have not yet been vaccinated,
it is important that you protect yourself from the flu and from
complications that can result from having the flu. The priority groups
for H1N1 vaccine are:
● Pregnant women
● People living with or caring for infants under six months of age

● Emergency medical services personnel and health care workers
● Children and young adults from six months through 24 years
● People aged 25 through 64 years with chronic medical conditions
like heart or lung disease, asthma, diabetes, or weakened immune

While vaccination remains the most effective tool to prevent flu
infections, there are also simple, everyday steps that one can take to
stop the spread of flu. These include:
● Wash your hands often.
● Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
● Avoid close contact with sick individuals
● If you are sick, stay home from work or school

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and
improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles
County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and
services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control,
and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000
employees and has an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more
about Public Health and the work we do, please visit
http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, visit our YouTube channel at
http://www.youtube.com/lapublichealth, or follow us on Twitter
(keyword: LAPublicHealth).

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