Limited amounts of vaccine for the H1N1 "swine" flu will be made available to children and young adults at some local clinics who are registered H1N1 vaccine providers beginning this week.
The vaccine will be offered by appointment only and only to established patients of the participating clinics - there are no exceptions for walk-ins.
The clinics will offer the Flu Mist nasal spray vaccine unless not warranted because of a child's age or other health conditions. Children who participated in the seasonal influenza Flu Mist clinics in local schools earlier this month are not eligible to receive the H1N1 Flu Mist until Nov. 9. A required minimum spacing of 28 days is necessary between the administration of two live vaccines if not given at the same time. If a student received the Flu Mist, they may receive the injectable H1N1 vaccine if available. Unfortunately, the injectable vaccine is in very short supply compared to the Flu Mist at this time.
The clinics are:
? Coastal Family Health Clinic, 2158 Exchange St., Astoria, (503) 325-8315
? Providence North Coast Clinic, 727 S. Wahanna Road, Seaside, (503) 717-7000
? Columbia Memorial Hospital, 2111 Exchange St., Astoria, (503) 325-4321
In addition, two vaccine clinics will be held today. The Clatsop County Health and Human Services Department will offer the H1N1 vaccine for young children ages 6 months to 35 months. No exceptions for the age range will be made during this clinic. The clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the HHS office at 820 Exchange St., Astoria. The vaccine will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and no appointments will be taken.
UrgentCare NW clinic, 2120 Exchange St., Astoria, will provide H1N1 vaccine to health care workers only until 7 p.m. today on a walk-in basis. Again, this is only for health care workers, defined as paid and unpaid people working in health care settings who have the potential for exposure to patients with influenza, infectious materials, including body substances, contaminated medical supplies and equipment or contaminated environmental surfaces.
Margo Lalich, interim director of Public Health, said that the decision to focus on the pediatric population with the limited supply of vaccine available is consistent with practices in other counties. Clinics that registered as H1N1 vaccine providers receive priority for the H1N1 vaccine allocation when vaccine becomes available to the county. Once they receive the vaccine, it is optional how they choose to run their clinic. Most importantly, all registered providers are strictly adhering to the target groups despite the limited supplies.
Information on future availability of the vaccine will be announced and posted on the Clatsop County Website, www.co.clatsop.or.us.
The H1N1 vaccine is being shipped out nationally in limited quantities weekly, and distribution is prioritized by target groups considered the most at risk from the illness: pregnant women, infant caregivers, people ages 6 months to 24 years, healthcare and emergency response personnel and non-elder people with certain chronic health conditions.
Only after those groups are inoculated will the vaccine be made available to the public.