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Meriden Health & Human Services Department News

Web Site: http://www.meridenhealth.com
165 Miller St., Meriden, CT 06450
Tel: (203) 630-4226 Fax: (203) 639-0039

MDHHS is committed to improving the quality of life for all it serves through the promotion of health, prevention of disease, and by assuring a safe and clean environment.

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Meriden Health Department Addresses Questions and Concerns Over H1N1 Flu Vaccine Availability

November 16, 2009

There have been some questions and concerns regarding the availability of the H1N1 influenza vaccine (also known as swine flu).

The Meriden Health Department currently has limited supplies of both the nasal spray and injectable forms of the H1N1 vaccine. Which form of the vaccine a person can receive is dependent on factors such as age, health status, and if the person is pregnant or not. The focus right now is to vaccinate those that are most at risk of becoming seriously ill if they were to become infected with H1N1 influenza.

Due to this current limited supply of the vaccine, as of November 17, 2009 the Connecticut Department of Public Health has advised the Meriden Health Department to target the following priority populations: - Children who are 6 months through 6 years of age - Household contacts and caregivers of infants less than 6 months of age - Pregnant women - Children between the ages of 7 and 24 who have high risk medical conditions

As more vaccine becomes available the priority populations may change; eventually this voluntary vaccine will be available to those not listed in a priority population. While other states have opened H1N1 vaccination to the general public, Connecticut has not yet done so due to the current limited amount of vaccine. In addition, some private medical providers who have signed up with the state to be vaccinators have not yet received vaccine because their patients do not fall into the priority target populations listed above.

There have also been concerns regarding the safety of the H1N1 flu vaccine. Clinical trials conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the vaccine manufacturers have shown that the new H1N1 vaccine is both safe and effective. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has licensed it and there have been no safety shortcuts. It is produced exactly the same way the seasonal flu vaccine is produced every year; H1N1 is simply a new virus strain. In fact, had H1N1 struck this country earlier than this spring, the H1N1 strain probably would have been included as part of this year's seasonal flu shot.

The Meriden Health Department is committed to the protection and promotion of the physical and environmental well-being of the citizens of Meriden. We ask that the public be understanding and patient as we move further into the flu season. We encourage all residents to practice prevention measures, such as covering their cough, washing their hands with soap and water well and often, do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth (this could spread germs), and staying home if they are sick. Now is also the time for families to discuss measures they would take if someone in the home was to become ill with flu-like symptoms.

If residents have any further questions regarding the H1N1 vaccine, they can call their doctor or visit our website, www.meridenhealth.com. If businesses would like educational materials to display at their worksite they can call the Community Health Education office at 203-630-4238.


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