GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Mesa County Tuesday received a second shipment of the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine. A total of 1,600 doses were received; 900 flu mist and 700 injectable. The majority of the injectable vaccine will be distributed to health care providers who have direct contact with the high risk groups.
Mesa County Health Department continues to offer 2009 H1N1 vaccine to the public who are in one of the priority groups listed below at the Health Department on a walk-in basis Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Wednesdays until 5:45 p.m. while supplies last. There is no charge for the vaccine.
Individuals must be in one of the following groups to receive the vaccine:
• Pregnant women
• People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
• Health care and emergency medical services personnel who provide direct patient care
• Children ages 2-4
When the additional shipments arrive in the coming weeks, the health department will begin to make vaccine available for the remaining high-priority groups. There will be an adequate supply to vaccinate all those who are interested. Increased influenza activity
Currently, there are 12 hospitalized cases of influenza in Mesa County. The 12 cases are just the tip of the iceberg and reflect cases that required hospitalization. The Health Department has been monitoring visits to emergency departments and physician offices as well as school absenteeism and has noted an increase in influenza-like illnesses in the community. Four schools (Nisley, Chipeta, Wingate and Dual Immersion Academy) have sent letters home to parents notifying them of increased absenteeism. In addition, schools have provided prevention messages and steps to staff, and have implemented additional cleaning protocols. At this time, School District 51 and Health Department officials do not feel it is necessary to close schools.
Dr. Aduddell says, "This increased influenza activity is not a surprise because Colorado, like almost all other states, is reporting widespread influenza. This is a reminder to follow the basic prevention steps: wash your hands, cover your cough, get vaccinated, and keep ill children out of school and to stay home from work if you are ill," said Dr. Michael Aduddell, director of Mesa County Health Department.
For more information, visit www.health.mesacounty.us or call the pre-recorded information line at 248-6989. In addition, the Colorado Helpline is available for callers with specific questions at 1-877-462-2911.