Community

Vaccine supplies increase in county

Starting this week, eligibility for the H1N1 influenza vaccine will be expanded to everyone six months of age and older in King County.

Depending on early demand among this broader group, supplies may be limited for a time at some locations.

The Seattle and King County Public Health office is taking this next step in widening H1N1 vaccine eligibility because many health care providers in King County are now reporting that they are able to meet the demand for their highest risk patients and vaccine supplies are increasing and expected to continue to rise steadily.

As of Friday, Dec. 4, some 380,000 people in King County who are at high-risk for complications had been vaccinated for H1N1 influenza, and an additional 58,000 doses of vaccine are on the ground or in the process of being shipped to vaccine providers in the county.

Vaccination continues to be particularly important for people at highest risk for H1N1, including pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, people between 25 through 64 years of age with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems, and healthcare and emergency workers

Public Health will have free H1N1 clinics Saturday, Dec. 19, at Eastgate Public Health Center, 14350 SE Eastgate Way, in Bellevue; Renton Public Health Center, 3001 NE 4th Street; Columbia Public Health Center, 4400 37th Ave South, Seattle; and North Public Health Center, 10501 Meridian Ave North, Seattle.

Vaccinations are first come, first served, and no reservations will be taken. If demand is high, people will be given a designated time later that day to return and receive their vaccination. Once supply is exhausted, people will be informed as soon as they arrive.

For more information on future clinics and other H1N1 updates, visit: www.kingcounty.gov/health/H1N1. The Flu Hotline at 877-903-KING (5464) is staffed with operators to answer questions from King County residents about H1N1 influenza. The Flu Hotline is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with special 24-hour nurse line service extended over the weekend for people with flu seeking medical care advice. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day.

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