King County will widen swine flu vaccine availability

December 9, 2009

By Staff

UPDATED — 3:27 p.m. Dec. 9, 2009

King County public health officials will offer the H1N1, or swine flu, vaccine to everyone in the county 6 months and older, starting Saturday.

Public Health – Seattle & King County will widen eligibility because many health care providers in King County said they are able to meet the demand for high-risk patients. Moreover, vaccine supplies are increasing and expected to continue to rise.

But officials cautioned that supplies could be limited at some locations if demand is strong. Check the availability at pharmacies here.

“We’re pleased that many of our highest risk residents have been vaccinated and that we have enough vaccine now to open eligibility to anyone who wants it,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for the public health agency, said in a news release. “Even though flu has peaked, at least temporarily, H1N1 illness continues in our community. Getting vaccinated is still a very good idea.”

Officials recommend the vaccine most 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.

About 380,000 people in King County at high risk for complications from the flu strain had been vaccinated by Dec. 4. Another 58,000 doses of vaccine are in the county or being shipped to local vaccine providers.

The public health agency will host free H1N1 vaccine clinics to provide access to people at the greatest risk from the illness but who cannot afford to pay for a vaccination.

The vaccination clinics will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Dec. 16 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 19. The vaccine will be available at these locations:

  • Eastgate Public Health Center, 14350 S.E. Eastgate Way, Bellevue
  • 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

A clinic will not be held at the Eastgate location Dec. 16.

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.

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