H1N1 vaccinations available Monday for toddlers in Richmond and Columbia counties

Parents of healthy toddlers ages 2 to 4 in Richmond and Columbia counties will get a chance to get their child vaccinated Monday against the novel influenza A H1N1 virus, the East Central Health District announced today.


Richmond County will hold its H1N1 clinic at 950 Laney-Walker Boulevard beginning at 8:30 a.m. until its 1,100 doses have been distributed. Columbia County will distribute vaccine at its Evans Clinic at 616 Government Way from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Columbia County received about 600 doses of the H1N1 vaccine. The vaccine was distributed according to population and the Georgia Division of Public Health is asking health departments to concentrate on that 2-4 year-old age group first.

“I have had a lot of interest in the H1N1 but not for this age group,” said Columbia County nurse manager Linda Graves. Teresa Catlett, clinical nursing director for Richmond County Health Department, also is not sure what to expect.

“We’re going to be prepared if we are inundated,” she said.

The first vaccine is a live attenuated strain delivered into the nose, not a shot, and it is only approved for healthy people 2 to 49 years old. It cannot be given to children under age 5 who have had one or more episodes of wheezing in the past year, for instance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported today that 32 percent of children ages 2-4 received a seasonal flu vaccine last flu season, which is about the average for all ages last season.

While there is a limited number of doses this time, the vaccine is expected to roll out in batches as it becomes available, and this the first of many clinics to come, said Melba McNorrill, child health and immunization coordinator for the East Central Health District.

“This is just the first of many shipments,” she said. The CDC is expected to update H1N1 vaccine availability on Friday.



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