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Clayton health offices restocked with H1N1 vaccines

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Public health offices in Clayton County recently received a new batch of H1N1 flu vaccine doses, and are currently administering the vaccines in both the nasal spray and injectable forms.

The Clayton County Board of Health received several thousand doses of H1N1 vaccine just before the Thanksgiving holiday, according to Veronda Griffin, spokeswoman for the Board of Health. Griffin said her office received 18,805 doses of the injectable form of the vaccine and 2,300 doses of the nasal spray.

Griffin said the Board of Health office -- located at 1117 Battlecreek Road in Jonesboro -- will continue to host its H1N1 flu clinic, Mondays through Fridays, from 8:15 a.m., until 4 p.m., while supplies last. "There is a steady flow of people coming in to get the vaccine," she said, adding that, within the first hour of business on Wednesday, the Board of Health had administered some 25 vaccinations.

She stressed the need for residents to approach the flu-clinic offerings with a sense of urgency, despite reports of reduced flu activity. "We wanted to emphasize that even though flu activity has diminished over the last few weeks, people still need to get vaccinated for the flu," Griffin said. "The H1N1 virus is still out there. History has shown that flu can come in waves. During a pandemic, it can peak and taper off before it picks back up."

She said getting vaccinated now, heading into the winter holiday season, is increasingly important, particularly for young children and pregnant women.

"We're seeing a lot of children and pregnant women coming in to get vaccinated," she said. "With the holidays coming up, it is best to get the kids vaccinated as soon as possible. What we don't want to happen when the kids are back in school [after the holidays] ... they're going to be passing germs to each other."

Public health officials said they are still targeting high-risk, priority groups, although the vaccine will be available to everyone on a first-come, first-served basis. The priority groups include: pregnant women; people who live with, or care for, infants younger than 6 months; health care and emergency medical services personnel; children from 6 months through 18 years of age; young adults, ages 19-24; and adults, ages 25-64, with underlying medical conditions that put them at greatest risk for flu-related complications.

Clayton State University's Health Services Department is hosting H1N1 flu clinics today and Friday. The clinics will be held at the Clayton State Student Center in University Health Services Room 211.

Health professionals will administer the vaccine today, from 10 a.m., until noon, and from 2 to 4 p.m. On Friday, the hours are 10 a.m., until noon.

Clayton State Spokesman John Shiffert said the university's health services department has distributed about 1,500 doses of the vaccine in both forms since Nov. 23. He said the health services department will have approximately 5,500 doses available today, with plans to give about 3,500 doses to the Clayton County Board of Health.

Public health officials are reminding residents that the H1N1 flu vaccines are available to the public regardless of where they live. To learn more about the H1N1 flu vaccine, call the Clayton County Board of Health at (678) 610-7199.

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On the net:

Clayton County Board of Health: www.claytoncountypublichealth.org

Clayton State Health Services: http://nursing.clayton.edu/uhs/H1N1