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Este pagina en espanol 2009 H1N1 Vaccine Availability Expanded

Release Date: December 8, 2009
Contact:  Bill Furney, (919) 715-4174

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Division of Public Health announced today the expansion of the H1N1 vaccination effort. State Public Health Director Dr. Jeffrey Engel advised health care providers, retail pharmacies and local health departments during a statewide video teleconference this morning that state health leaders are advising the H1N1 vaccine should be made available to everyone.

“In many areas of the state, it appears demand for the vaccine by those in the groups initially targeted for vaccination has begun to drop off,” Dr. Engel said. “We now feel comfortable broadening vaccination efforts so anyone who wants the H1N1 vaccine may receive it.”

The state has received more than two million doses of H1N1 vaccine. The vaccine has been distributed to health care providers in every county across North Carolina. State health leaders are working with county health departments to assess supply and demand in specific areas of the state. The state will assist in transporting vaccine from any areas that report having an excess of vaccine to those that may need more.

“As we enter this new phase, it is important for people to remember that we are still in the midst of an ongoing pandemic,” Dr. Engel said. “While the number of cases may be going down, the rate of influenza illness is still high, and we can expect another wave of influenza as we reach the peak of the regular flu season. If you have not yet been vaccinated, we urge you to do so.”

Until now, the vaccination efforts focused on five specific groups of people, such as school-aged children and pregnant women, who were more vulnerable to bad health outcomes if they contracted the flu, or to those who cared for people who were more at risk. While the 2009 H1N1 vaccine will now be available to almost everyone, it is important to remember that it still should not be given to infants under 6 months of age.

Since the outbreak of H1N1 began last April, North Carolina has reported 74 deaths associated with influenza-like illness. Health officials continue to urge people, in addition to getting both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines, to take the following precautions to prevent getting the flu or passing it on to others:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • If you get sick with flu, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from making them sick.