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|For Immediate Release:
December 01, 2009
|For more information contact:
Public Health Communications
|H1N1 Mass Vaccination Clinics to Conclude This Week
Final push focuses on residents in priority groups for H1N1 vaccine
|LOS ANGELES - Final schedules for H1N1 mass vaccination clinics were released today by the Long Beach, Pasadena, and Los Angeles County public health departments. The last round of public health-run vaccine clinics will focus on a final, large scale administration of H1N1 vaccine to residents in the CDC-designated priority groups.
"As supplies of H1N1 vaccine increase, it is time for public health departments to step back and for doctors and community clinics to step forward in meeting the unique needs of their patients and community," said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. "Residents who are in the priority groups for H1N1 vaccine and do not have a regular source of health care are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to receive free vaccine."
The public health departments of Long Beach and Pasadena will also be ending their mass-vaccination efforts. "Ending the public health-run mass vaccination clinics in no way implies that the risk of H1N1 infection has also ended," said Helene Calvet, MD, Health Officer for the City of Long Beach. "Residents, who are at high- risk of infection and complications from the flu, such as pregnant women, children, and young adults under age 24, and others in the initial target groups, should receive the H1N1 vaccine if they have not already done so."
"Though it may appear that the H1N1 flu has peaked or that there are fewer cases, influenza does come in waves. During the holiday season, more individuals travel or gather in homes, shopping malls, movie theaters or other locations, increasing the potential for illness to spread. We strongly encourage these high-risk groups to protect their health and the health of their loved ones by getting vaccinated," said Takashi Wada, MD, MPH, Public Health Director and Health Officer for the City of Pasadena.
The role of public health departments in administering H1N1 vaccine was originally intended to target people who did not have health insurance or a regular source of health care, and to support a broader community outreach. With the temporary shortage caused by delays in the production of the vaccine, public health-run vaccine clinics saw larger segments of the population than expected.
"This has been a joint H1N1 vaccination effort between the public health departments of Long Beach, Pasadena, and LA County. Moving from a mass vaccination effort to a community-based effort merely marks the successful end of the public health departments' large scale outreach, as we planned from the beginning," said Dr. Fielding. "H1N1 vaccine will continue to be available through private doctors and local community health clinics and residents are encouraged to seek out these trusted sources of H1N1 vaccine."
To date, nearly 1.2 million doses of H1N1 vaccine have been delivered to private health care providers (including doctors and community health clinics) in Los Angeles County. The LA County Department of Public Health has administered more than 175,500 doses of H1N1 vaccine to the public through its 97 mass-vaccination clinics, held from October 23-November 22.
After the final mass-vaccination clinic, H1N1 vaccine will still be available to those without a regular source of health care through community partner clinics or a limited number of appointments will be available at an LA County Public Health health center. For locations and operating hours of clinics or health centers, check your local public health department's website, visit the LA County Public Health website at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov or call the LA County Information Line at 2-1-1.
Children under 10 years of age who received their first dose of H1N1 vaccine at one of the public health-run vaccine clinics, and are now due for the second dose, should visit their doctor or a community health clinic. If they do not have a doctor or a regular source of care, they can receive their second dose of H1N1 vaccine at one of the final LA County Public Health H1N1 vaccine clinics.
The priority groups for H1N1 vaccine are:
While vaccination remains the most effective tool to prevent flu infections, there are also simple, everyday steps that everyone can take to halt the spread of flu. These include:
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/lapublichealth, or follow us on Twitter (keyword: LAPublicHealth).