Swine-flu vaccine availability to expand on Saturday

Starting this Saturday, those eligible to receive H1N1 influenza (swine flu) vaccine will be expanded to everybody six months of age and older in King County.

Depending on early demand among this broader group, supplies may be limited for a time at some locations, according to Public Health – Seattle and King County.

The health department is taking this next step in widening H1N1 vaccine eligibility because many health care providers in King County are now reporting that they are able to meet the demand for their highest risk patients and vaccine supplies are increasing and expected to continue to rise steadily, according to a health department press release.

“We’re pleased that many of our highest-risk residents have been vaccinated and that we have enough vaccine now to open eligibility to anyone who wants it,” said Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County. “Even though flu has peaked, at least temporarily, H1N1 illness continues in our community. Getting vaccinated is still a very good idea.”

As of Dec. 4, an estimated 380,000 people in King County who are at high-risk for complications have been vaccinated for H1N1 influenza, and an additional 58,000 doses of vaccine are on the ground or being shipped to vaccine providers in the county.

Vaccination continues to be particularly important for people at highest risk for H1N1, including pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, people between 25 through 64 years of age with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems, and healthcare and emergency workers.

H1N1 vaccine is available from local health care providers and pharmacies.

Additionally, some health centers are offering free H1N1 vaccination to people who cannot afford to pay. Clinics will be held this Saturday, Dec. 12, Wednesday, Dec. 16, and Saturday, Dec. 19.

This Saturday’s HealthPoint free H1N1 clinics are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or while supplies last. Locations are:

• Auburn HealthPoint: 126 Auburn Avenue, Suite 400

• Kent HealthPoint: 403 E. Meeker

• Redmond HealthPoint: 16315 NE 87th Street, Suite B6

• SeaTac HealthPoint: 4040 S. 188th Street

Public Health will have five free H1N1 clinics this Saturday (Dec. 12) and next Saturday, Dec. 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. These same site, except for Eastgate Public Health Center, will also have clinics on Wednesday, Dec. 16, from noon to 7 p.m. Locations include:

• Bellevue: Eastgate Public Health Center, 14350 SE Eastgate Way (Eastgate Public Health Center will not have a Wednesday clinic).

• Renton Public Health Center, 3001 NE 4th Street

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