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Rugby receives H1N1 vaccine

By Staff | Oct 8, 2009

Twenty doses of H1N1 influenza vaccine arrived to Rugby health care officials last week as part of the 4,000 doses released to the state Department of Health, according to Candace Carlson, with the Lake Region District Health Unit.

State health officials advised those first doses be used to vaccinate health care workers who are around patients with influenza, or those with a high risk of influenza. Those doses were in the form of the nasal mist and were only available for children two years of age thru age 49.

Additional doses will be distributed to health care providers in the coming weeks, Carlson added, but at this time it’s not yet known whether it will be the nasal dose or a vaccine that can be administered through a shot.

“The state is expected to receive about 100,000 doses in October and in November and as much as 180,000 in December,’ Carlson said.

While health care workers are among first to be vaccinated, pregnant women, people age 24 to 64 with medical conditions; and those who provide care for children six months and younger are considered next in line to receive the vaccine.

More doses will become readily available to the general public later this year, Carlson said. The vaccine will be available through Pierce County public health office as well as the Johnson Clinic.

Lisa Thorp, RN with Rugby’s Johnson Clinic, said health care officials there plan to become vaccinated, and when more H1N1 vaccine doses become available, patients will be able to receive it.

In addition to the nasal spray-mist, the vaccine that can be administered through a shot. One shot is required for people age 10 and older and two for children six months to age nine.

What makes the H1N1 influenza quite different than seasonal influenza is it appears to have been affecting primarily the young, Thorp said.

Both the Johnson Clinic and the county public health office have been busy administering season flu vaccine.

Thorp estimates over 500 people have received the vaccine as of early October, representing people from Rugby and the county as well as in the Maddock, Dunseith and Towner areas. “That’s typical (the number of people) getting one,’ she said.

The shots are being administered through regular clinic office visits, Thorp added. In the past, the clinic designated a scheduled time outside of appointments when flu shots would be given.

Deb Schiff, public health nurse, has also been busy giving season flu vaccines at locations around the county as well as in her Rugby office.

For more information about the H1N1 or season flu, log on to www.ndflu.com

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