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Flu vaccinations promoted

Pam Graber
For the Nevada Appeal

Editor’s note: This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages throughout the flu season. Readers interested in knowing more about this topic are urged to visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu or http://www.flu.gov.

Q: What is National Influenza Vaccination Week about?

A: National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) was established to heighten awareness of the importance of H1N1 vaccinations. It emphasizes the importance of continuing and increasing influenza vaccination after the holiday season, through January and beyond. This year, Jan. 10-16 is National Influenza Vaccination Week.

A goal of NIVW is to engage at-risk audiences who are not yet vaccinated, hesitant about vaccination, or unsure about where to get vaccinated. These audiences are found within the general public and health care workers; people with chronic health conditions that put them at high risk of serious influenza-related complications; children, pregnant women, and caregivers of infants less than 6 months old; and young adults 19-24 years and seniors.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., reports that “we are at a critical moment in the fight against the 2009 H1N1 influenza.” In 2009, there were approximately 47 million cases of H1N1; approximately 200,000 hospitalizations; and nearly 10,000 deaths – with the majority of the deaths occurring in children and non-elderly adults. Flu activity has decreased over the past few weeks, but flu activity is expected to continue for months, and experts warn that we should prepare for a possible third wave of H1N1 flu.

Vaccine supplies are now plentiful. One no longer needs to be “High Priority” to qualify for a vaccination. H1N1 vaccine is available to all. People who have not yet been vaccinated now have an excellent opportunity to do so, and to prevent serious illness and death. Carson City Health and Human Services offers free H1N1 vaccinations every Thursday. CCHHS is located at 900 East Long Street, Carson City.

Over the next several weeks, CCHHS officials will be reaching out to various community groups and clubs to offer on-site vaccinations. If you are a member of such a group and wish to speak to someone about setting up on-site vaccinations at your next gathering, call Karen at 283-7905.

“The illness is down. There’s plenty of vaccine. It’s a key window of opportunity.”

– Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services on Jan. 6, 2010.

CARSON CITY AREA H1N1 VACCINE CLINICS

WHEN: Every Thursday at Carson City Health and Human Services

WHERE: 900 East Long Street, Carson City, Nevada

HOURS: 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m. (Closed for lunch 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.)

COST: There is no charge for H1N1 vaccinations.

• Pam Graber is the public information officer at Carson City Health and Human Services.