OLYMPIA ¾ H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine is widely available – more than 2 million doses have been shipped to Washington. Vaccine is available at pharmacies and medical offices to anyone who wants it.
“Now that more vaccine is available, it’s the perfect time to protect yourself and your family. I got my own vaccination December 22 when access was expanded,” says Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “Flu activity in our state has dropped, but some H1N1 disease is still circulating. Flu viruses are always unpredictable and we don’t know what will happen next.”
Vaccination is the best protection against H1N1 and seasonal flu. Everyone can benefit from a flu shot; however, it’s crucial for many people at high risk for complications. This includes children and young adults, pregnant women, and anyone with a chronic medical condition. Washing your hands, coughing and sneezing into your sleeve, and staying home when you’re sick are also important ways to stay healthy this flu season.
National Influenza Vaccination Week starts Sunday, January 10 – highlighting the importance of people getting vaccinated even this time of the flu season. It’s a reminder that vaccination is a quick and easy way to stay healthy.
People should check with their health care providers about getting vaccinated. Many local health agencies (http://www.doh.wa.gov/h1n1/h1n1_getvaccine.htm), retail pharmacies, and grocery stores also have vaccine. Large retail pharmacies are now getting vaccine directly from the federal government to help make it more available. This offers another great opportunity for the public to find vaccine.
The state Department of Health provides information about vaccine and where to find it online. The agency’s H1N1 Web site (www.doh.wa.gov/h1n1/default.htm) offers tips on how schools, businesses and people at home can stay healthy as this year’s flu season continues. The agency also posts H1N1 updates on Twitter (http://twitter.com/wa_deptofhealth).