Health Department to have limited H1N1 vaccines early next month


ARENAC COUNTY — County residents that are categorized into target groups specified by the Center for Disease Control will be able to receive H1N1 vaccinations starting in early November.

According to Mary Kushion, Health Officer with the Central Michigan District Health Department (CMDHD), which services Arenac County, pregnant women, medical first responders, parents of caregivers and kids under six months, school-age children (six months to 24 years old) and people 25-64 with chronic medical health clinics will be the first to be eligible for the vaccine.

“The first group we want to make sure get that (vaccine) are pregnant women and medical first responders,” Kushion said, adding first responders could easily be exposed to H1N1, also known as swine flu. “They’re the ones most likely to come into contact with a person with the flu.”

While November will bring about an opportunity to get the vaccine for the CDC target groups, others will have to wait a little longer.

“For the general population, it probably won’t be until the first part of December,” Kushion said. “We just want to make sure we have enough vaccine available.”

At first, Kushion said shipments of the vaccine will be in a nasal-spray, mist solution.

“The flu mist can be given to anybody 2-49 with no underlying health issues,” she said, adding a second shipment will also be distributed, that one in injection form.

While no flu clinics to administer the swine flu shot or mist are currently scheduled, she said the clinics will be announced soon.

“We’ll be announcing the school-based clinics the beginning of next week,” Kushion said in an interview Friday. “We’re hoping to hold community mass-vaccination clinics in December.

“We are very much in the planning stages, getting the supplies and doing everything that comes along with holding the mass-vaccination clinic.”

While the concern from Arenac County residents and others within the CMDHD hasn’t been overwhelming, Kushion did say there have been calls and questions about H1N1 and its vaccine.

“I think we’ve had a moderate amount of calls wanting to know when the vaccine is available,” she said. “Most of the people are those who get their seasonal flu shots.”

The Michigan Department of Community Health identified two cases of possible H1N1 during the week of Sept. 20-26.

For more information on the H1N1 vaccine, call 989-846-6541.

The CMDHD serves Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola and Roscommon counties.


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