Swine flu shots available to anyone at Saturday clinic

Despite earlier shortages, the county now has enough swine flu virus to inoculate anyone older than 6 months at their next clinic.

The El Paso County Department of Public Health and Environment is offering a H1N1 flu vaccination clinic Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the northeast lower level of The Citadel mall, 750 Citadel Dr. Vaccinations are free and will be given until the department runs out of its 3,000 doses.

“We are encouraging anyone who wants protection against H1N1 flu to get vaccination, especially before the upcoming holidays,” said Kandi Buckland, executive director of the health department. “We are now seeing increased supplies of H1N1 vaccine and we’ve assessed H1N1 vaccine uptake in the community, and feel this is an appropriate time to offer the vaccination broadly to the public.”

The department limited the vaccination earlier in the flu season to people who were at risk: people 6 months to 24 years old, with compromised immune systems or underlying diseases, and pregnant women.

Health officials say children who are 9 years old and younger who’ve received their first H1N1 flu shots are encouraged to get their second booster shots, as long as it’s been a minimum of 21 days since their first vaccination.

Before attending the clinic, participants should download the adult and child vaccination consent forms at the department’s Web site, www.elpasocountyhealth.org.

Come prepared to stand in line and wear loose-fitting clothing to allow access to arms for adults and legs for children.

Other important considerations:

  • People who have significant allergy to eggs or to any other substance in H1N1 vaccine should  not get vaccinated.
  • Those arriving ill or showing signs of illness will not be vaccinated.
  • Parents are asked to leave sick children at home, and all minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian.

For more information, call 211, the Pikes Peak United Way’s Health and Human Services phone line, or call the toll-free Colorado Help Line at (877) 462-2911.