Certified healthcare providers who have already immunized patients most at risk of complications from the H1N1 flu virus may now offer the vaccine to anyone who wants it, the Department of Health announced today.
Pennsylvania is expanding the H1N1 vaccination program to everyone because approximately 3.2 million doses of vaccine have been allocated to healthcare providers who administered it to individuals in the priority groups.
“Many certified providers have already vaccinated their priority group patients and still have vaccine available,” said Secretary of Health Everette James. “To ensure those doses are used, we are encouraging healthcare providers to vaccinate all of their patients who ask to be protected against H1N1”.
“Even though influenza activity in the state is declining, it is still very important for people to get immunized because a third wave of H1N1 is expected to occur in the state. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to get vaccinated.”
Since the vaccination effort began, the department has focused on ensuring members of priority groups had access to the limited supply of H1N1 vaccine. The department estimates there are approximately five to six million residents in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s five recommended priority groups to receive the vaccine.
To date, Pennsylvania has been allocated 3,177,900 doses of H1N1 vaccine. The department has provided vaccine to private providers, local health departments, and state health centers. It also held statewide clinics to reach individuals in the priority groups. The department will conduct additional clinics in early January for Pennsylvanians who do not have access to the vaccine through their healthcare provider or do not have a provider.
The Department of Health continues to urge Pennsylvanians in the priority groups to get vaccinated against H1N1. They include pregnant women; persons six months to 24 years old; healthcare providers and emergency medical services personnel; parents, household members or caregivers of children under six months; and those under 65 with certain underlying medical conditions.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health, USA