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First flu vaccine doses arrive

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
The Rowan County Health Department received 700 doses of the H1N1 live nasal vaccine available for health-care workers and people age 2 to 24 who are healthy.
The live H1N1 vaccine will be provided Oct. 16 on a first come, first served basis. When additonal vaccines come in, information about additional clinics will be made available.
If you are not listed in one of those groups, the department will not be able to provide the flu mist during this first round of preventive treatments for H1N1, officials said.
“Please keep in mind that the health department will be receiving additional H1N1 vaccinations over the next few weeks and the department will be scheduling opportunities for the public to get the H1N1 vaccination at future clinics,” said Health Director Leonard Wood.
The following people in this group may not get the live vaccine:
– Pregnant women.
– Children younger than 5 with asthma or one or more episode of wheezing during the past year.
– Anyone with certain muscle or nerve disorders (such as cerebral palsy or seizure disorders) that can lead to breathing or swallowing problems.
– Anyone in close contact with a person with a severely weakened immune system (requiring care in a protected environment, such as bone marrow transplant unit).
– Children or adolescents on long-term care aspirin treatment.
– Anyone with a weakened immune system.
– Anyone with a long-term health problem such as heart disease, lung disease, asthma, kidney or liver disease, metabolic disease such as diabetes or anemia and other blood disorders.
Others may not receive the live vaccine if they have an allergy to one of the components of the H1N1 live nasal vaccine. It contains eggs, but does not contain thimerosal or other preservatives. It is contraindicated in individuals with a history of hyersensitivity, especially anaphylactic reactions to eggs, egg proteins, gentamicin, gelatin or arginine (an amino acid) or with life threatening reactions to previous influenza vaccinations.
If you’ve had a serious reaction to an influenza vaccine in the past or a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome or an occurrence of any neurological symptom following any vaccine, don’t get the vaccine.
If you’ve completed antiviral therapy within the last 48 hours or received a live vaccine within the past month or plan to get a live vaccine within the next month, don’t take the vaccine.
People who are moderately or severely ill are advised to wait until they recover before getting the vaccine. If a person has a mild cold or other illness, there is usually no need to wait.
The H1N1 flu mist arrived in North Carolina last week, but only arrived in Rowan County this week, Wood said.
“There are target groups that we have to focus our effort on regarding H1N1,” he said.
These target groups have been identified by the Center for Disease Control because they are more prone to complications with H1N1 or they are considered front line medical care personnel that need to be protected to provide care to those that are sick with H1N1.
The CDC is now recommending that children older than 10 and adults only take one H1N1 vaccine.
The two shot series for children 6 months to 9 years old will be given 21 days a part.
The health department will be giving the vaccine at no cost, but if an individual has a third-party payer such as insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, the department will be billing these insurance providers for the vaccine.
“The important point here is that anyone seeking to obtain an H1N1 vaccine at the health department should bring their insurance cards with them,” Wood said.

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