There has not yet been enough H1N1 vaccine made to ensure that every person who wants a vaccination can get one right now. The nationwide shortage has caused local health departments, like the ones in the St. Louis region, to make plans for the available supplies.
Here in the City, the St. Louis Health Department, under the leadership of acting director Pam Walker, has reserved the first few shipments of vaccine for people most at-risk for the virus. These people include children under 18 with underlying medical conditions; children between 6 month and 4 years of age; pregnant women, and care-givers of infants under six months old.
While final logistical details are still being worked out and deadlines are being adjusted, here is an outline of the program Director Walker will use to deliver the vaccine to City residents:Adults who are pregnant or care for very young infants will be able to visit one of 54 clinics (including 10 hospitals) in the City.Children in daycare, their caregivers, and their parents will be told next week through the City’s 900 daycare centers through the area where and when they can receive the vaccine. All City elementary schools private, public, and parochial will begin serving as vaccination clinics as shipments of the vaccines arrive. These in-school clinics will be open to enrolled students who have returned signed permission slips. Director Walker plans to be finished with most elementary and middle schools in the City by the holiday break. In January, she will shift her staff’s efforts to enrolled students in the secondary schools.After the schools are completed, the vaccine will be made available through employers in critical infrastructure fields.
If you’re not in any of the high-risk categories and still want to protect yourself from the H1N1 virus, follow these common sense (and effective) precautionary steps: cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your upper arm instead of your hands. Wash your hands frequently, and use hand sanitizer. If you are sick, please stay home for 24 hours after your fever subsides without the use of fever-reducing medications.
Further information, contact numbers , and updates are available at www.fighttheflumo.com and here.