Health officials launch free H1N1 flu vaccination clinics Saturday

December 4, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 4, 2009

Public Health – Seattle & King County will host free H1N1 vaccine clinics Saturday and Wednesday. The clinics are set up to provide access to people at the greatest risk from the illness, also known as swine flu, but cannot afford to pay for a vaccination.

The vaccination clinics will be from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and from noon – 7 p.m. Wednesday. The vaccine will be available at these locations:

  • Renton Public Health Center, 3001 N.E. Fourth St., Renton
  • Columbia Public Health Center, 4400 37th Ave. S., Seattle
  • North Public Health Center, 10501 Meridian Ave. N., Seattle
  • Federal Way Public Health Center, 33431 13th Place S., Federal Way

Officials said 4,000 doses of vaccine would available across the four sites Saturday. During the Wednesday clinics, 1,000 doses will be available across the four locations.

Vaccinations will be available on a first-come, first-served basis; no reservations will be taken. If demand is high, people will be given a time later in the day to return for a guaranteed vaccination. After the supply is exhausted, people will be told as they arrive.

The ability to pay will be determined on the honor system. Officials will assume that people getting vaccinated at the clinics cannot afford the administrative cost of a vaccination.

The health department said additional clinics would be scheduled as more vaccine becomes available.

Local public health officials said H1N1 vaccine continues to arrive every week. Most of the vaccine goes to healthcare providers for at-risk patients. King County pharmacies are also receiving limited deliveries.

“As more vaccine comes into the community, we’re continuing to allocate limited amounts to people without insurance or who can’t afford to pay,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a news release. “We encourage people to seek H1N1 vaccine through their health care providers or through pharmacies if they can afford the administrative cost or if insurance covers it.”

Officials estimated 280,000 people in King County who are at high-risk for complications have been vaccinated for H1N1. Another 90,000 doses of vaccine are on the ground or in the process of being shipped to vaccine providers in the county.

Officials said at-risk people should continue to seek the vaccine. The vaccine supply is improving — albeit gradually — each week. Officials expect the supply will eventually reach a level in which enough vaccine will be available in King County for anyone who wants it.

Due to supply delays, the vaccine is still reserved for pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6, people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years, people between 25 through 64 with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems, and healthcare and emergency workers.

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