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Vaccine Distribution Expanded to All Target Groups

December 2, 2009

December 2, 2009

Prompted by increasing supplies of H1N1 vaccine, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department today announced that local vaccine distribution is being expanded to the federal government's initial target groups.

The change, which is effective Thursday, Dec. 3, makes the vaccine available to groups totaling approximately 500,000 adults and children. Most recently, vaccine was available to subsets of the target groups totaling 150,000 adults and children.

Now eligible to receive Swine Flu vaccination in Pierce County: Pregnant women; people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age; all health care and emergency medical services personnel; all persons between the ages of 6 months through 24 years; and people from ages 25 through 64 who have certain medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications.

Children under 10 years of age who are due for their second vaccinations will also be included on the list.

"We appreciate the patience shown by the general public and medical providers as we made necessary priority group changes during the weeks of vaccine shortage," said Director of Health Dr. Anthony Chen of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. "We believe that those with the greatest need for vaccination have either been vaccinated or had the opportunity to be vaccinated. We are pleased that now we can turn our attention to providing vaccine for those in the broader target groups."

With vaccine now available to more people, many will be asking where they can go for vaccinations. The Health Department's best advice is twofold:

  • Go to www.tpchd.org and click on H1N1. You'll be taken to a page with "Where Can I Get the Vaccine?"
  • Check with your physician or health care provider.

People also can e-subscribe on the Web site to public health news to receive daily H1N1 updates. For most clinics and pharmacies, people should call ahead to double check availability and to make an appointment.

Vaccine distribution, which starts at the federal level and drops through state health departments to counties, has been occurring for the past two months. The quantity was in the 10,000 doses per week range for the first month and double that for the past month.

The Health Department is hopeful distribution will continue at the higher level until everyone who needs a vaccination in Pierce County has had the opportunity to be vaccinated. "I'm cautiously optimistic," Chen said.

Contacts: 

Dick Ferguson, Public Health Information Officer, 253-377-3215; dferguson@tpchd.org

Eileen Finnigan, Public Health Information Officer, 253-377-5314; efinnigan@tpchd.org

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