Most People Can Now Get H1N1 Vaccine
Spokane Regional Health District Expands Availability of H1N1 Vaccine Beyond Priority Groups Starting Monday
Beginning Monday, December 14, everybody six months of age and older wishing to receive the H1N1 vaccine will be eligible. The Spokane Regional Health District notified health care providers this week of its decision to expand availability to the general public.
For the past two months, the Health District has followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and offered the vaccine to priority groups. "We have reached a point where we believe those in priority groups have had a sufficient opportunity to get the H1N1 vaccine," said Dr. Joel McCullough, Health Officer for the Spokane Regional Health District. "We will continue to assure that those at highest risk for complications from H1N1 influenza have opportunities for vaccination," McCullough added.
"It is important for everyone to get vaccinated. We may have another wave of H1N1 hit Spokane in 2010 and we should prepare for that," said Dr. McCullough. According to the CDC, swine flu has killed at least three times more children than a usual flu season.
The Health District anticipates a high demand for the vaccine once it is made available to the general public. Initially, we do not expect to have a sufficient supply. Eventually, we believe there will be enough H1N1 vaccine for everyone who wants it.
The H1N1 vaccine is currently available at local doctor's offices in both the nasal mist and shot form. Many pharmacies now have the vaccine. Policies vary by pharmacy, especially when it comes to vaccinating children. Pharmacies are permitted to charge a small fee.
No additional public clinics are planned at this time.
Those who are uninsured can get the vaccine free of charge at the following sites:
- SRHD Public Health Clinic – anyone 6-months of age and older, by appointment
- Safeway pharmacies – over 8 years of age for the flu shot; 5 years of age and older for the nasal spray
- US Health Works Urgent Care – anyone 6-months of age and older, walk-in for Valley and South Hill locations; 4 years of age or older at the North side location