H1N1 vaccine clinics canceled


As the supply of H1N1 vaccine collapsed last week, county health officials canceled scheduled vaccination clinics for November. Instead, the limited supply of the vaccine is being directed to medical providers to distribute to patients in high-risk groups.

Still, not all providers will have the vaccine until the supply line recuperates.

Providers participating in the state Vaccine for Children program will be the first recipients of the vaccine. The Snohomish Health District will monitor and evaluate distribution and, based on information and vaccine supply, may again schedule mass vaccination clinics later in the year.

The Health District will also offer the H1N1 vaccine at its Lynnwood and Everett locations to those in the high-risk groups: persons aged 6 months through 24 years; health care workers and emergency responders; teachers; professional child care providers; household and caregivers of young children; and persons aged 25 through 64 with medical conditions associated with a higher risk of influenza complications. To schedule an appointment, call 425-775-3522 in Lynnwood or 425-339-5220 in Everett.

People older than 65 do not qualify for the H1N1 vaccine during times of limited supply, even if they fall into another target group.

A list of Snohomish County providers who have a supply of vaccine is posted at www.snocoflu.com.

When the latest clinic was held at Stevens Hospital on Oct. 31, people started lining up at 3:30 a.m., coming from as far as British Columbia, according to Steve Kaiser, marketing manager for the hospital. Around 10:15 a.m. officials stopped accepting new people waiting in line. The typical wait was 4.5 hours, quite different from the previous Saturday where the wait in the afternoon was 10 minutes.

“Everyone was in a good mood and patient and cooperative,” Kaiser said.

To combat the spread of the H1N1 virus, Stevens Hospital has launched new precautions on its campus buildings.

Children under 12 are restricted from visiting the hospital, including the emergency department, unless they are a patient.

Patients who have a fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose or sore throat are asked to wear a medical mask. Masks are available inside hospital entrances at front desks.

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