As the annual fall flu vaccination season nears, the Payne County Health Department notes that it has received several calls from the public about the availability of the new H1N1 flu vaccine.
            “Our expectation is that we will begin to see some of the new flu vaccine delivered to Oklahoma in mid-October,” said Annette O’Connor, Administrative Director of Payne County Health Department. “At this point we are uncertain how many doses will actually be distributed in the state, or how much of the new vaccine will be available in Payne County.”
            If early shipments provide limited doses, health officials will be implementing a plan to provide the vaccine first to those key populations that are most impacted by the new H1N1 virus, including the following:
•    Pregnant women
•    Health care workers and emergency medical responders
•    People caring for infants less than 6 months of age
•    Children and young adults from 6 months to 24 years of age
•    Persons aged 25 to 64 who have underlying medical conditions
 “Vaccine supplies are expected to arrive in increments due to the slower than expected manufacturing process of the H1N1 vaccine,” Pam Dvorak, Payne County Health Department District Nurse Manager stated. “Not all of the vaccine allocated to Payne County will be available to administer in mid-October.  Initial priority will be given to those at highest risk among the targeted population for vaccination until additional supplies arrive.”
Dvorak emphasized that there will be a full supply of vaccine for Payne County, however H1N1 vaccine is expected to arrive in incremental shipments throughout the months of October and November.
            “In the meantime, Payne County citizens should still get their annual seasonal flu shot when vaccine becomes available,” O’Connor said. “This shot is different from the H1N1 vaccine and will protect against this year’s seasonal influenza virus strains. The shot will be available for anyone who wants to be protected against seasonal flu. It is also available for children 6 months and older.”
            O’Connor said seasonal flu vaccine should be available at the Payne County Health Department by mid-to-late September.
            To help prevent the flu, follow these flu prevention recommendations:
•    Cover your cough.
•    Wash your hands frequently.
•    If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever has ended without the use of fever-lowering medications.
•    Get a vaccine when it becomes available.
            For more information, call the Payne County Health Department at 918/225-3377 or visit: https://h1n1.health.ok.gov.

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