STATE—A small number of local health departments and health care providers received initial shipments of nasal spray H1N1 flu vaccine Tuesday. Plans for the administration of the vaccine are being finalized by providers.
The H1N1 nasal mist vaccine is only recommended for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49 who are not pregnant. Due to the limited initial supply, the Department of Health and Senior Services is targeting the nasal mist for healthy children between the ages of 2 and 18 and healthcare workers.
Shipments of the H1N1 vaccine – both nasal spray and injectable vaccine – will continue throughout this month and into November and December. The injectable H1N1 vaccine is expected to begin arriving in the state over the next few weeks—again in staggered shipments. However, an exact date has not yet been determined by the federal government.
In anticipation of receiving this limited supply of vaccine, the state has opened a toll-free public information hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The information line number is 1-866-321-9571. Call center operators will be able to provide general information about H1N1, vaccine safety and availability information, symptoms of H1N1 and flu preventive measures.
“According to the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there will ultimately be enough H1N1 vaccine for everyone who wants to get vaccinated,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard. “As the federal government has pointed out, it will be a challenging process as the vaccine supply arrives in New Jersey over the next three months. With the opening of this H1N1 call center, we have created an important resource for the general public and health care providers.”
The commissioner stressed that while H1N1 Influenza vaccination is highly encouraged, it is not mandatory.
Vaccine shipments will go directly to sites that registered on the state website as “ship to” sites. Shipments will be staggered so only limited amounts of vaccine will be available through the next several weeks.
Several of the providers who received limited doses of nasal spray vaccine are working on their distribution plans for the vaccine and have asked for time to make preparations before they are publicly identified. Once distribution plans have been finalized, providers will share specific information with their patients and some local health departments will be scheduling vaccination clinics.
Free vaccinations for the 1.2 million uninsured New Jerseyans will be offered at public health clinics and community health centers in every county throughout the state. For those who are insured, many health care providers will eventually have the vaccine.
More information on H1N1 influenza and vaccination can be found at www.nj.gov/health/flu/h1n1
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