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Flu vaccines available for more residents

Thursday, December 3, 2009

by The Sanders County Ledger

The Sanders County Health Department will conduct a community H1N1 influenza clinic Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Thompson Falls High School, in conjunction with the annual Christmas Bazaar.

Other clinics have been scheduled in each community to provide second doses to children and initial doses to adults with medical conditions. These clinic dates and times will be advertised and are listed on the Influenza Hotline, 827-6939.

Sanders County Health Officer Cindy Morgan said the increased number of opportunities for vaccinations is due to more vaccine becoming available. Kids under the age of 10 have to have a second dose, while adults don't. "We used to receive 100 does per week, and now we receive about 200," said Morgan.

"Now we're moving into the age group of adults, 25 to 65, with medical conditions."

The bazaar will be the first clinic to target that age group. Adults may also attend school clinics if they need a vaccination. They are still emphasizing vaccinations for pregnant women and school age children.

School clinics will be December 10 at Dixon and Plains, Dec. 16 at Trout Creek and Noxon, Dec. 22 at Hot Springs and Dec. 23 back in Thompson Falls.

"Amazingly," said Morgan, "we have only been able to confirm one case of HIN1 influenza in Sanders County. That's not saying there might not be others, but only one that was tested positive." She said with other areas, a lot depends on how many tests have been done and how many have been forwarded to the state.

Fifteen of Montana's 56 counties have not had any confirmed cases of H IN I while another six have had a single test. Leading the state with confirmed cases are Missoula and Lewis and Clark counties with 140 each. The state's most populous, Yellowstone, has only 43 confirmed cases, the same as Flathead County.

The HlNl vaccine continues to be offered free of charge.

"We don't ask folks for documentation of medical conditions," said Morgan. "People 65 and over are likely immune from this particular strain of H1NI, but we won't turn anyone away in this age group who wants to be vaccinated."

Morgan said the county is still waiting on a supply of the seasonal flu vaccine, but may be receiving some this week.

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