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H1N1 Swine Flu immunizations being given at The Sanibel School on Oct. 30

By Staff | Oct 20, 2009

The Sanibel-Captiva chapter of the Southwest Florida Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) will be providing H1N1 flu immunization at The Sanibel School on Friday, Oct. 30 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., pending vaccine availability.

The immunization (vaccination) clinic is a part of the Lee County Health Department’s effort to immunize individuals at high-risk for complications from the new virus as early as possible in the flu season. The immunizations will be provided free of charge.

There are five groups of people who fall into the high-risk category. These include:

Pregnant women (the highest risk)

Caretakers of infants less than 6 months old (who can’t receive the vaccine)

Children and young adults age 6 months to 24 years

Adults age 25-64 with chronic medical conditions (including asthma or emphysema, heart disease, chronic kidney or liver disease, blood diseases and/or diabetes) and people with weakened immune systems.

Health care workers

These individuals are encouraged to receive the H1N1 vaccine on Oct. 30. (For convenience, there is a consent form that can be downloaded at www.leechd.com.

Bring this form completed to the clinic to facilitate your visit.) Individuals not in this priority group are encouraged to get immunized later when more vaccine becomes available.

Seniors 65 and older do not fall into the high risk group because experience with the H1N1 virus shows a lower rate of infection for seniors, likely due to immunity developed at a younger age when exposed to a similar virus. But the usual seasonal flu virus can cause more serious illness in seniors, who are urged to get their seasonal flu shot as early as they can.

MRC volunteers who are residents of Sanibel/Captiva will staff this Sanibel immunization clinic; these individuals practiced for this event at The Sanibel School about 18 months ago. Sanibel city officials, including police and other emergency personnel, will assist as well.

The Sanibel School will not be in session that day due to previously scheduled vacation. An additional clinic may be scheduled for Sanibel as more vaccine becomes available.

The Lee County Health Department has scheduled other immunization clinics at Lee County high schools after Monday, Oct. 26, and through the month of November. Times and places have been published in local media. As the supply of vaccine increases during November, everyone, including seniors, should be immunized. Volunteers are still needed to help staff these clinics.

The SW Florida Medical Reserve Corps is one of over 850 such groups in the United States, staffed by nearly 200,000 volunteers. Volunteers are still needed, medical and non-medical, for the Sanibel-Captiva chapter of SWFL-MRC. Information about the SWFL-MRC can be found at www.swflmrc.org.

For questions about the H1N1 swine flu immunization clinic and volunteering, call Debra Gary, RN, at 239-542-4887.