Swine Flu Shots: Where to Get Them

  • The Spread of Swine Flu Shots

    People who’ve already decided to get a swine flu shot may have to wait even longer to get theirs, and fears of a shortage of the H1N1 vaccination are spreading.  But the shot is currently available to the public.  To find out where, read on. “It is expected that there will be enough 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine for anyone who chooses to get vaccinated,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. But production and rollout has been slower than expected. In fact, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told CNN that the vaccine may not be widely available until December. When it is available, you can locate a place to get your shot or find out where it’s expected to be available by checking Flu.gov, but there’s a list of priorities depending on your occupation, where you live and how old and how healthy you are. Here’s what you need to know. Photo Credit: jasleen_kaur
    Swine Flu Vaccination by State
  • Swine Flu Vaccination by State

    Many state health departments and clinics have received their first shipments of the swine flu shot. How much each state gets depends on its population but it’s ultimately up to the states to determine how to allocate them. Vaccines are shipped in separate batches, so as they arrive, the shots go to health care workers first, according to CDC recommendations. For instance, in Michigan, health care workers and emergency responders get vaccinated first. In New York State, “while some doses of vaccine will be distributed beginning the first week of October, New Yorkers and health care providers will need to be patient, as initial supplies will be small and it will take several days for those doses to reach health care providers,” the New York State Department of Health said on its Web site. Photo credit: yanivba
    Swine Flu Shots in Hospitals
  • Swine Flu Shots in Hospitals

    Since the vaccine isn’t widely available yet, even within hospitals, some health care workers are more of a priority than others. For instance, pregnant staff, emergency room staff, intensive care unit and nursery staff are given first priority. Additionally, staff with lung disease or weak immune systems, heart disease, as well as staff under 25 years old are also a priority at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, according to an internal memo. However, especially concerned staff members who don’t belong to any of those groups won’t be turned away, the hospital said. Photo Credit: Walter Reed Army Medical Center
    Community Swine Flu Shots
  • Community Swine Flu Shots

    Community health centers and county health departments are getting shipments of the swine flu vaccine, and after the first shipments cover health care workers and emergency responders, the next available batch of shots would go to certain priority groups. Those include pregnant women and people who take care of infants younger than six months old, according to Crain’s New York Business. After that, people six months to 24 years old and anyone with medical conditions putting them at high risk of experiencing complications from the flu can get the shot, according to Crain’s. After those populations are protected, the vaccine will be available to the general public. Photo Credit: Felixe
    Shots in Schools
  • Shots in Schools

    Children have been particularly hard hit by the flu, and with 86 child deaths already since April, the CDC has deemed them a priority group for the swine flu shot. In Michigan, for example, after health care workers and emergency responders are vaccinated, clinics at schools will be in the next group to receive the vaccine. The vaccines are expected to arrive weekly, but it’s not expected to be widely available until the end of November, according to Michigan District Health Department 10. In Ohio, a handful of health centers and public schools are already offering the flu shot to so-called high risk individuals, but the state expects the vaccine to be widely available by the end of October. New York, which was particularly hard-hit with the swine flu this spring, has already begun giving school children the swine flu vaccine. Photo Credit: backstory1
    Shots at the Doctor’s Office
  • Shots at the Doctor’s Office

    State and local health departments may determine when private practices can receive shipments of the swine flu shot. According to resources for health care providers, doses of the vaccine are still on order and waiting to be processed, according to the Influenza Vaccine Availability Tracking System of the American Medical Association. In New York State, health care providers have to pre-register with the State Health Department before receiving it. In Florida, counties are fielding vaccine requests from doctors’ offices and give preference to pediatricians and doctors with other priority patients, according to the Associated Press. Photo Credit: peapodsquadmom
    Drug Store Clinic Shots
  • Drug Store Clinic Shots

    Certain Take Care retail clinics inside Walgreens (Stock Quote: WAG) Stores are already offering the swine flu shot. “A select number Take Care Clinics have a supply of the H1N1 vaccine and Take Care Health professionals at those locations are administering the vaccine to patients,” according to spokesman Gabriel Weissman. The list of clinics that have the vaccine available is constantly changing, Weissman says, but consumers can check TakecareHealth.com for the nearest clinic offering H1N1 shots. Technically, these shots that are available should go to high-risk groups like young children, the sick and the elderly first, but no one will be turned away if they’re particularly insistent, Weissman notes. Bellin FastCare clinics in Wal-Mart Stores (Stock Quote: WMT) have also received the shot, but it’s being allocated to its health care workers first and may not even cover them all, according to spokesman. That second shipment, which isn’t expected until mid-November, should be available to the public however. The Little Clinic locations at Kroger (Stock Quote: KR) and Publix supermarkets also expect to offer the H1N1 vaccine when it’s available, “at select clinics based on health department approval on a state-by-state basis,” the company says. CVS (Stock Quote: CVS) and Target Stores (Stock Quote: TGT) have also signed up to receive the vaccine when it’s available. Photo Credit: mcmorgan08
    Shots from Employers
  • Shots from Employers

    Many health care workers can get a free vaccination for the H1N1 flu from their employers, but most other employers aren’t likely to provide free shots even if they provide a free seasonal flu shot every year. “Businesses may have to wait months to offer the shot, if they get it at all,” the Associated Press reported. “New York plans to limit the vaccine to existing health providers - and businesses with on-site medical staff … The Illinois and Chicago health departments, at least initially, are excluding businesses,” the AP reports. Businesses may be able to get the vaccine for employees if it’s a company in California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas and they have a doctor or nurse licensed to vaccinate. Some states may allow a company to hire a visiting nurse to provide flu shots, according to the Associated Press. Photo Credit: Mickipedia
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