Flu season preparation continues for public health

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With the mass vaccination roundup for seasonal flu over for the year, the Walla Walla County Public Health Department is continuing to prepare for getting H1N1 vaccine to the general public.

As the moment, the department expects to receive limited amounts of vaccine that can begin to go to everyone the second or third week in November, said Harvey Crowder, administrator.

When the vaccine arrives in enough supply, staff will post the information at www.co.walla-walla.wa.us/departments/phd/ and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/wwchd.

Recorded information will eventually be on the department's phone message system, as well.

Everything is subject to change, depending on the manufacturing process, Crowder cautioned.

By December, there will be more swine flu vaccine -- projections say up to 20,000 doses delivered by the end of the year. In addition, school-based immunizations should begin the third week in November with the hope those are completed by the end of January and an emphasis on completing the task as quickly as possible, he added.

Thus far vaccine allocations have been increasing and if supply matches the projected allocations, "it shouldn't be difficult for those who want to be vaccinated to get their vaccine, certainly by the end of January," Crowder explained.

"We hope to be able to get some 800 (doses) a week out to the pharmacies starting in a couple of weeks," he said, adding that everything continues to depend upon availability of the vaccine.

The H1N1 vaccine is free, but there may be administrative costs charged by some health-care providers.

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