New supplies make H1N1 Flu Vaccine available to all residents

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free-flu-shotsOn Monday the Long Beach Health Department said that the H1N1 flu vaccine is now available to the general public.

Up to this point the H1N1 vaccine was only available to priority groups because of a nationwide vaccine shortage. However, a recent increase in supply from manufacturers means that the flu vaccine can be made available to anyone that wants it regardless of their current health condidtion.

The Health Department will provide the H1N1 flu shots to all individuals by appointment beginning this week. To schedule an appointment for a flu shot, call (562) 570-4103 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Residents can also book an appointments online at http://lbdhhs.genbook.com.

Due to a recent vaccine recall, pediatric preservative-free vaccine is not available at this time.  Pediatric doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine with preservative are available, as is the live virus (nasal) vaccine, which can be given to healthy individuals between the ages of 2 and 49.

The health department will continue to offer free flu vaccines, while supplies last, using funds from a federal grant.

Health officials recommend the seasonal flu vaccine for about 70 percent of American adults, including people over age 50, those with high-risk medical conditions, health care workers and those who care for children under age 5. There are different recommendations for the H1N1 flu vaccine, which protects against the pandemic influenza strain.

As people travel during the holidays, they may be exposed to influenza viruses and other seasonal illnesses. However, there are also practical habits that can help prevent the flu:

  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, exercise, and get plenty of rest.

According to flu.gov, the 2009 H1N1 disease is likely to continue into the new year. The symptoms for all flu, including H1N1 (Swine) flu, are similar. They include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, and chills. If you have H1N1 flu, you should stay home, follow your doctor’s orders, and watch for signs that you need immediate medical attention.

For additional details visit www.longbeach.gov/health or call the 24-hour Public Health Information line at 562.570.4499.

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