Be informed about H1N1 vaccines | Editorial

There has been no public panic, and for that we are thankful. But there has been and is cause for concern: H1N1 has arrived on the islands.

As of Friday, there have been five confirmed cases of swine flu on the islands, but officials believe there have been more. One child has been hospitalized with H1N1. Health officials will try to determine whether H1N1 was a cause of a young woman’s unexpected death last week.

Public health nurses have done a remarkable job monitoring students who have stayed home with flu-like symptoms. Islanders have done a remarkable job keeping their cool amid vaccine shortages. Private and public health care providers have done a remarkable job keeping islanders informed about vaccine availability and ways to stay healthy.

Vaccine is now available locally for pregnant women, caregivers of children younger than 6 months, children and young adults age 6 months to 24 years, health care workers and EMTs, and adults age 25-64 with chronic health conditions.

Some people have concerns about vaccine and may be hesitant to become vaccinated. Talk to your health care professional about it. It’s important, particularly with all the upcoming family and public holiday gathering.

If you are eligible for a H1N1 flu shot, we recommend it. If you aren’t eligible yet, check in regularly with your health care provider or the county health department (378-4474), as more vaccines will be arriving.

In the meantime, pay attention to your health. Call your health care provider or county health department if you have a cough, fever or sore throat. Stay home if you are sick. Local H1N1 information is available 24/7 by dialing 2-1-1.

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