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H1N1 vaccine priority expanded to 25- to 64-year-olds with chronic health problems

San Juan County health officials announced Monday that the groups currently given priority for receiving H1N1 vaccinations now includes adults age 25-64 who suffer from a chronic health problems that place them at greater risk of suffering serious complications from H1N1 influenza.

Those chronic conditions include asthma, diabetes and heart disease, and individuals with conditions or taking medications which suppress the immune system.

San Juan County Health and Community Services Director John Manning urged people who fall into one of the priority groups for vaccination to contact their own health-care provider if possible, and to be prepared to wait.

"At this point our supply of vaccine remains below demand, and as we receive additional shipments we are distributing the vaccine through private providers," Manning said in a press release from the county communications office.

"Individuals should only contact the health department directly to arrange a vaccination if they do not have a provider or cannot make an appointment with their provider.”

Contact information for medical providers receiving vaccine is available HERE

Groups considered as priorities for receiving vaccinations in San Juan County now include:

— Adults age 25-64 with chronic health problems (such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease).

— All children and young adults between the ages of 6 months and 25 years.

— Pregnant women.

— Caregivers of children less than six months.

— Health care workers and emergency medical responders with direct patient care.

County Health Officer Dr. Frank James noted on Friday that the normal pattern is to expect more cases to appear in the community as a whole after the number of flu-related absences in schools has peaked. He said that point appears to have been reached on San Juan Island with Orcas and Lopez not lagging far behind.

Despite an increasing number of cases, to date there have been no reports of influenza-related hospitalizations or deaths among San Juan County residents.

James emphasized that until adequate supplies of H1N1 vaccine are available, it is important for individuals to take steps to slow the spread of the disease:

— Wash your hands frequently.

— Cover your cough.

— Stay home if you are sick.

— Call before going to your health care provider’s office if you have a cough and fever or sore throat.
 

More information on H1N1, updated information on the availability of vaccine, and links to state and national H1N1 sites is available

HERE.

Information is available via telephone 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 in San Juan County.

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