For months, two primary questions about H1N1 influenza have been circulating. When will the H1N1 vaccine arrive and who should get it? The first question has been answered as shipments of the H1N1 vaccine begin arriving in Grundy County this week.
"Allocation of the vaccine to Grundy County is being determined by the state according to population," said Grundy County Public Health Director Administrator, Nancy Haren. "As a county, we then work with providers to administer the vaccine." Vaccines will continue to be shipped to Iowa through the winter months.
As for who should receive the vaccine, Grundy County is following CDC guidelines, which state the H1N1 vaccine should first be made available to the following priority groups:
pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months through 24 years of age, and people from ages 25 through 64 years who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
Because the first shipment of H1N1 vaccine is in the form of a nasal spray, which is not recommended for some people (such as pregnant women and children with asthma), it is important to talk to your health care provider about getting the vaccination.
The seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine can be given at the same time and at any time in any sequence with one exception: if using the live nasal spray vaccine for both the seasonal flu and H1N1, they should be given 4 weeks apart to ensure the best protection from both vaccines.
In addition, it remains important to take personal actions to prevent the spread of the virus:
cover your cough, clean your hands, and contain germs by staying home when ill.
A statewide toll-free hotline has been established for public questions about seasonal and H1N1 influenza at 1-800-447-1985. More information can also be found at www.idph.state.ia.us.