To Be Vaccinated, Or Not To Be?
Friday - November 11, 2009
The H1N1 flu vaccines are here! I got the call last week from my 2-year-old son’s pediatrician and needed to decide whether or not I wanted to get him vaccinated since he falls into one of the priority groups to receive the vaccine at this time.
And now that I’m expecting again, I, too, fall into one of those priority groups, so it’s a decision I have to make for myself - and quick, as the demand for these vaccines seem to be greater than the current supply.
“I’m a huge proponent of vaccinations,” says state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “When vaccinations are available to us it is the single best method of disease prevention. I’ve said that countless times and I really do believe it, and science proves it.
“Wouldn’t you rather be protected and have your shield against infection than get sick and have to deal with the consequences - potentially severe consequences - that you may not recover from?”
As of last week Thursday, the state Department of Health reported that Hawaii has been allocated 146,500 doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine. All of those doses have either been ordered, banked, received or are en route.
The DOH also reports that 90,230 doses have been reserved for its H1N1 school clinics while the remainder of the doses are going to its providers.
“You can see that’s a fairly small number compared to our total population, and we share in everyone’s frustration about the speed with which the vaccine is not getting out to the general public,” said state health director Dr. Chiyome Fukino. “The priority groups have remained the same and we encourage people who fall into these priority groups to consider being vaccinated.
“We are anticipating as the vaccine becomes more and more available that anyone who wants to have a vaccination can get one, but for right now when vaccines are in short supply we appreciate it if those who are not in the priority groups defer and wait until the priority groups are fully covered.”
The priority groups eligible to receive the H1N1 flu vaccine at this time are: * pregnant women * people who live with or care for infants younger than age 6 months * healthcare and emergency medical services personnel * children and young adults age 6 months through 24 years * anyone age 25 through 64 years with one or more of the following health conditions: diabetes, asthma, emphysema or other lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, cognitive disorders, neurologic/neuro-muscular disorders, blood disorders and immune system problems.
It’s also important to note that anyone with egg allergies should not get vaccinated.
After discussing it with my pediatrician, in whom I have great trust, I’ve decided to get my son vaccinated. I also will get vaccinated.
If you fall into one of the priority groups and want to get vaccinated, call your doctor or visit one of the providers in your community. For a complete list of providers, visit http://hawaii.gov/health/flu-hawaii-gov/Documents/H1N1%20vax%2 0provider%20Resource%20List.p df.
The DOH also wants to remind people that in addition to getting vaccinated, there are other infection-control measures that are just as important, such as good hand-washing, covering your mouth when you cough or your nose when you sneeze, and staying home if you’re sick.
For more information on the H1N1 flu in general, visit www.hawaii.gov/health
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