The Oregon County Health Department in Alton hosted their first swine flu clinic Oct. 19 and will continue to offer the vaccine for free to those who want it as long as supplies are available.
Missouri received its first shipments of the H1N1 vaccine earlier this month. However, a delay in the shipping of the vaccine to Oregon County was unexpected but overcome once the shipment arrived.
"They've caught us up," Shelia Russell, of the Oregon County Health Department, said. The health department received both their first and second shipment on the same day.
Russell said the Oregon County Health Department received their shipment of the vaccine Oct. 15. "We started giving out the vaccine as soon as we got it," Russell said.
"Every week, we're going to get more of the vaccine," Russell said.
She said the health department received about 300 doses of the flu mist and about 100 doses of the injectable form.
Russell said the health department had about 50 people come in the morning of the flu clinic to get the vaccine. She said she was expecting more to come in as soon as school let out that day.
Currently, the Oregon County Health Department does not have the preservative free form of the vaccine, but they are expecting it in one of the future shipments.
The state health department advises people to get both the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it's available. Those given priority to receive the vaccine are pregnant women, children and young adults.
The mist version of the H1N1 vaccine can be used on healthy children and adults ages 2 through 49. The flu mist contains a live attenuated (weakened) virus and isn't recommended for pregnant women, children under 2, the elderly or anyone with an underlying health condition. Those in one or more of those categories need to get the H1N1 injection.
Russell said the Oregon County Health Department in Alton is the only location in Oregon County where people can received the vaccine at the moment.
"Adequate supplies of the flu vaccine will be available for the high-risk groups," Margaret Donnelly, director of MDHSS, said. "As additional shipments of the vaccine arrive in Missouri, flu shots or vaccine mist should be available to everyone who wants them."
Russell said she continues to update the health department's Web site at www.oregoncountyhealthdepartment.com. She also updates the health department's phone message at 778-7450.
People can also call the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services' toll-free number set up specifically for those who want more information about H1N1. The number is 1-877-358-4141, and it will be answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"Specialists with the H1N1 InfoLine will answer questions about flu symptoms, when to seek medical care and ways to limit the spread of the flu, including the new vaccine. Medical professionals will be available to assist the specialists with callers' questions," according to MDHSS.
"As we get further into flu season, we know many Missourians will have questions about the H1N1 flu," Donnelly said. "We urge Missouri residents to do everything they can to prevent the spread of the flu and keep their families healthy. The Flu InfoLine can help answer questions they might have."