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Next wave of H1N1 vaccine being sent to doctors

The Kent County Health Department is starting to distribute novel H1N1 influenza vaccine, and people in certain high risk groups are being asked to contact their primary care physician to get the shot.

“Nobody understands a person’s risk factors like their doctor,” said Cathy Raevsky, Administrative Health Officer for KCHD. “By getting vaccine into doctors’ offices, we can identify and vaccinate those most at risk for severe illness. Using local physicians is the best way to protect individuals in these target populations.”

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) announced last week Wednesday that it was starting to distribute the vaccine to local health care providers for vaccination of patients in certain target groups. Target groups include pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months, people between 6 months and 24 years, and people at high risk for the virus due to chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems. These target groups encompass about half of the population of Kent County. According to Bridie Bereza, of the KCHD, partnering with local health care providers allows KCHD to expand its vaccination capacity. She said that Kent County is fortunate to have more than 150 community partners signed up to assist in the vaccination effort.

“Most providers are vaccinating their own patients. Using local health care providers diffuses the initial rush to a single point of mass vaccination, which has caused long lines and unruly crowds at vaccination clinics across the nation,” she explained. “Because many in the target population are stroller-bound, wheelchair-bound, pregnant, or require special medical attention, a mass vaccination clinic with its long waits and parking challenges would unduly burden those targeted to get vaccinated first for the novel H1N1 flu.”

KCHD will begin holding special clinics to serve those who are not able to get the novel H1N1 flu vaccine from their health care provider. Dates, times, locations, and the process for securing a vaccine can be found in an accompanying story on page ?. The information also will be available at stickittotheflu.com and on our vaccine information line, (616) 742-4FLU.

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