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SALT LAKE CITY -- Chances are a nurse or a physician will be on the other end of the syringe when the regular H1N1 vaccinations begin in a few weeks. But it doesn't have to be that way. EMTs, paramedics, even pharmacists can administer the shots.
The Salt Lake Valley Health Department alone plans to receive more than a half-million doses of the vaccine between now and the end of the year. Salt Lake Valley Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Dagmar Vitek says most of them will be administered by some of the 40 nurses on staff or by additional nurses hired by the health department through places like Community Nursing Services.
"These are agencies that specialize in staffing, so we have contracts with those," Vitek says. "We do plan some mass vaccination clinics.
But Vitek emphasizes all of those who will be administering the shots will be certified at some level, whether they're intermediate-level EMTs or physicians.
In a critical situation, Vitek says the health department could take advantage of its Reserve Medical Corps, made up mostly of doctors and nurses.
Vitek says the shot itself is not complicated, but the health department will look for certification and minimal licensure.
Meanwhile, when it comes to the seasonal flu shot, some pharmacists can administer them on site, but they also have to be certified.
Reid Barker, executive director of the Utah Pharmacists Association, says it receives that certification through its national council. He says there are sites up and down the Wasatch Front where pharmacists have been certified.