Health departments getting ready for H1N1 vaccine

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This week the Utah Department of Health will be able to order the first doses of the H1N1 vaccine. So, which health department will get it first?

Tom Hudachko, spokesman for the Utah Department of Health, said, "There are 12 local health departments in the state, and they each represent 'x' amount of the population. So depending on how much of the population those health departments represent, is the percentage of the vaccine they will be shipped."

By mid-October more shipments will be ordered, arriving in Utah sometime in the beginning of November.

The at-risk groups who will get vaccinated first include:

  • Infants
  • pregnant women
  • caregivers to children
  • folks with underlying health conditions
  • people ages 6 months to 24 years.

When the shipments arrive, it's up to each local health department to distribute the vaccine. Dr. Dagmar Vitek, with the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, said, "We are planning to go to day care [centers] and schools cause we're targeting children as a high-risk vaccination."

Salt Lake Valley Health is one of the largest departments in the state. They'll work with private providers, pharmacies and hospitals to make sure those who need the vaccine can get it.

"It adds up to 800,000 people, just the high-risk groups," Vitek explained.

She added, "The vaccine and supplies are shipped by federal government for free." However, private providers who are selected to receive the vaccine can charge an administrative fee.

By late December, the H1N1 vaccines will be coming in regular shipments and will become available for the general public. This is a voluntary vaccine.

For more information on where the vaccine will be available, click here.


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Amanda Butterfield


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