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Health department has H1N1 vaccines

Toddlers targeted for first batch

POSTED: October 7, 2009 9:56 a.m.
The Liberty County Health Department has received 400 of 3,200 doses of the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine that were distributed Tuesday to eight coastal counties by the Coastal Health District.
The swine flu vaccines, which come in the form of a nasal spray, were part of the first shipment of nearly 55,000 vaccines disbursed throughout Georgia on Tuesday morning by state officials in an effort to minimize the spread of the illness this flu season.
Diedra Howell, Liberty County’s health administrator, is on leave and was not available for comment.
Sally Silbermann, public relations manager for the Coastal Health District, said the Liberty County Health Department should begin administering the vaccines today.
“This is the nasal spray only and we are following state guidelines to target healthy 2- to 4-year-old children with these initial doses,” she said.
More vaccines are expected in Liberty County and seven other coastal counties in the month.
“More doses are expected to arrive in the district in coming weeks, including the injectable version of the vaccine,” said Dr. Diane Weems, Coastal Health District chief medical officer. “As we receive more shipments, we will continue to make the vaccine available to additional priority groups including, young children, pregnant women, health-care workers, and other high-risk populations. We expect to receive ample supplies of the vaccine as we move further into flu season and ask that our citizens be patient. As soon as the H1N1 vaccine is readily available, it will be offered in multiple sites throughout the district.”
Initial doses of the vaccine will first be administered to children between the ages of 2-4. Health officials said the spray cannot cause the H1N1 flu, but may, as with seasonal flu vaccine, cause some minor side effects, including a low-grade fever, runny nose, nasal congestion or cough.
There is no charge for the vaccine at health departments. However, Medicaid, Medicare and some private insurance may be billed for a nominal administration fee.
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