Flu shot available to all

Published 8:44 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The vaccine for H1N1 flu now is available to anyone who wants it, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

“Anybody can get the shots now,” said Larry Hill, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Health. “They’re available to anybody that wants them and needs them.”

The Suffolk Health Department, 135 Hall Ave., should have an adequate supply for anybody who requests one, Hill said. The vaccine also has been shipped to many pharmacies and doctors’ offices, which are being encouraged to offer them to all patients.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

“We’re getting vaccine on a daily basis right now,” Hill said.

Previously, the vaccine was being reserved only for those in priority groups — people between 6 months and 25 years of age, caregivers of children under six months of age, health care and emergency workers, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions.

Even with the vaccine more available now, Hill encouraged people to continue to practice common-sense prevention. You should cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and stay home if you get sick to avoid infecting others.

Symptoms of H1N1 flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. Severe illness and death have occurred from the virus, but primarily in people who had an underlying health condition.

Hill cautioned against choosing against the vaccine because of the virus’ declining effect.

“Just because we’re starting to see it level off some doesn’t mean it can’t come back even stronger,” Hill said. “Get the vaccination while you can. We’ve seen too many people get sick from it.”

For more information on the H1N1 flu, visit www.h1n1get1.com.