Seasonal flu vaccines starting early this year to accommodate H1N1 shots

Starting Monday, Cache Valley residents will be able to get their seasonal flu vaccinations from the Bear River Health Department.The schedule for seasonal flu vaccines is starting about a month earlier than normal this year, Health Department Spokeswoman Jill Parker says, and it’s to accommodate the H1N1 vaccinations that will start about a month from now.”The seasonal flu vaccine is available now and it’s about one month ahead of when we typically get it,” Parker said. The first shots will be available starting Monday at 7:30 a.m. at the Bear River Health Department building. Shots will be offered from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Sept. 9 from 9 to noon at the Logan Senior Center, Sept 16 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Hyrum Senior Center and Sept. 22 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Smithfield Senior Center.”It is important that we create community immunity against seasonal flu to protect those who cannot receive the vaccine such as babies less than 6 months old,” said Lloyd Berentzen, director of the Bear River Health Department. “To do this requires a community effort, and we want to be as available as we can to provide the vaccine.”Parker said valley health officials hope to give out as many seasonal flu shots as possible before the H1N1 vaccinations start about a month from now. The target groups for the seasonal flu shots and the H1N1 shots are a little different, however. The H1N1 shots will be focused on pregnant women, children between the ages of 6 months and 24 years, household contacts of infants under the age of 6 months, people 64 and younger with chronic health conditions and health care or EMS workers.Seasonal flu shots are offered to everyone and there is enough supply for everyone, Parker said, but the focus groups are those age 6 months to 19 years, pregnant women, people 50 and older and those with chronic medical conditions or living in long-term care facilities.The cost of the seasonal flu shot will be $25, but the H1N1 shots will be free. Parker said health officials may be going to the schools to offer the shots, but kids will not be required to have the shots.For more information about flu shot schedules or the Health Department in general, call 792-6500 or visit www.brhd.org.

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