Island County opens swine flu shots to all

Anyone in Island County who wants a swine flu immunization can now get one; the restrictions are off.

In Snohomish County, the vaccine continues to be rationed, provided only to pregnant women and others at high risk of severe health complications if they get swine flu.

The restrictions in Island County were lifted Monday because it appears that all the people in the high-risk group who wanted the immunization have gotten it by now, said Dr. Roger Case, Island County’s health officer.

“We saw declining interest in attendance at the clinics being held so we went ahead and opened it up to others who have announced their interest in getting it,” Case said.

The vaccine is offered at 16 clinics and pharmacies on Whidbey Island.

Meanwhile, in Snohomish County, the restrictions will continue for now.

Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer for the Snohomish Health District, said it’s not surprising that some counties may opt to lift the restrictions.

“We know that the demographics are different in different counties,” he said. “Some have fewer young people.”

He and other health officers across the state are paying close attention to vaccine supply, he said. “As demand starts to slow, all of us will want to expand eligibility as quickly as we can.”

For now, the vaccine in Snohomish County is only being provided to pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services workers, people 6 months through 24 years; and adults 25 through 64 years old with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486, salyer@heraldnet.com.

Learn more

For more information, check the Island County Health Department’s Web site at http://tinyurl.com/islandcoH1N1 or call 360-678-5111, ext. 6011.

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