H1N1 vaccine to be given to priority groups first

flushotRBC I Like other locations in Colorado, shipments of the the H1N1 vaccine were expected to arrive this week locally.
“It will be arriving in small shipments over the next several weeks,” said Kim Long, Rio Blanco County public health director. “As it arrives, we will start immunizing according to the prior groups established by CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment).”
Among the first groups to receive immunizations, on both ends of the county, include:
• Pregnant women.
• People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, because younger infants are at a higher risk and cannot be vaccinated.
• Healthcare personnel with direct patient contact.
• Children 6 months through 4 years old.
• Children 5 through 18, who have chronic medical conditions.
“As the vaccine supply is adequate, we will begin to offer the vaccine to additional priority groups,” Long said. “It is expected there will be enough vaccine for anyone who wants to receive one.
“However, as we attempt to vaccinate those at greatest risk first, those with a lower risk may have to wait,” Long added. “At the national level, it is expected that adequate vaccine will be available for the entire vaccination effort to be completed in early 2010.”
In Colorado, the CDHE is “running all H1N1 subtyping tests that meet qualifications,” Long noted. “That includes subtyping of anyone who is hospitalized with influenza. Local doctors are treating each case on an individual basis after looking at patient history and level of illness.”
For information, contact the county health department at 878-9520 in Meeker and 878-9525 in Rangely.