H1N1 vaccine arrives in Garfield County, but limited to high-risk groups | AspenTimes.com

H1N1 vaccine arrives in Garfield County, but limited to high-risk groups

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Initial doses of H1N1 vaccine have arrived in Garfield County, but for now are being reserved for people considered at higher risk of complications from the flu.

The Garfield County Public Health Department is offering vaccinations to those people as a first priority until vaccine runs out, according to a press release issued Monday by the Garfield County Public Health Office.

Those at high risk of complications from the flu include:

• Pregnant women;

• People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age (because younger children cannot be vaccinated);

• Children ages 6 months through 4 years;

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• Children ages 5-18 years who have chronic health conditions (i.e. asthma or other lung disorders, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes or other disorders that may compromise the immune system);

• Health care workers with direct patient care responsibilities (including dental workers and nursing home employees).;

People who fall into this category are encouraged to attend a free walk-in flu vaccination clinic on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Garfield County Public Health clinic locations, in Glenwood Springs next to Valley View Hospital, and in Rifle next to City Market.

Small shipments of H1N1 vaccine are being delivered every week throughout Colorado, including Garfield County, according to Sara Harter, immunizations manager for Garfield County Public Health.

“As more vaccine becomes available, we will expand our clinics to additional people,” Harter said.

In order to keep the public informed about the availability of both H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine and clinic schedules, the public health office has created a flu information line. This can be accessed by calling into Public Health and listening for the flu information option. Glenwood residents should call 945-6614 and in Rifle 625-5200.

“Public Health continues to remind the community of the importance of following preventative steps to avoid spreading the flu, including washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes and keeping a reasonable distance from those who are ill,” according to the press release. “Individuals with mild flu-like illness should stay home. Children with a fever should not go to child care or school, and adults with a fever should not go to work until they have been symptom-free for at least 24 hours, without the help of fever-reducing medications.”

The symptoms of both seasonal and H1N1 flu are similar and may include fever greater than 100 degrees, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, chills, headache, body aches and fatigue. In some cases, diarrhea and vomiting may occur.

“Individuals with severe symptoms or those at risk for complications from the flu should seek the advice of their health care provider,” health officials urge.

Questions about the flu or for the latest information on local flu clinic times and locations can also be directed to the CoHELP line, at 1 (877) 462-2911. The call center is staffed with both English- and Spanish-speaking health professionals from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

jstroud@postindependent.com