Walla Walla County to hold H1N1 clinics

Although swine flu problems are receding, another round of infections is expected in the spring.

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While it seems this year's H1N1 season is taking a temporary breather, the Walla Walla County Public Health Department has scheduled two H1N1 vaccine clinics at its office at 314 W. Main St. at the Rose Street entrance.

School absenteeism and emergency room visits have dropped recently, according to Harvey Crowder, administrator for Walla Walla County Public Health Department.

In pandemics, however, there are typically two peaks in illness rates and this swine flu is likely to peak again in the spring, he added.

Vaccine for the disease will be administered on Nov. 24 and Dec. 15, 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention priority guidelines will be followed.

Vaccine availability is still limited and will remain that way through January, Crowder noted. His office is scheduled to receive about 20,000 doses of swine flu vaccine by January, far less than the number of local individuals in the priority group.

Included in that category are pregnant women, family members and caregivers of children less than 6 months of age, health-care workers, those between 6 months and 24 years of age and people between age 25 and 65 with pre-existing medical conditions that make them at risk of complications from the flu.

The health department will begin going to schools to vaccinate children this week, starting with the Burbank and Vista Hermosa school districts. Next week, health-care providers will be in Waitsburg, Dixie and Touchet. The smaller schools will require less vaccine to be completely covered and the hope is that more vaccine will be on hand by the time the health department gets to the Walla Walla Public School District, Crowder said.

His office has about 550 doses of seasonal flu vaccine for children, as well. Clinic days for those vaccinations are Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Friday.

For recorded information call 524-2650 and select option 4.

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