Residents encouraged to get vaccination
County offers public H1N1 clinics

Wanda English Burnett

Ripley County residents are encouraged to get the H1N1 vaccine that will be offered in upcoming public clinics. The first one will be held January 13 from 4-8 p.m. at the South Ripley Elementary School. Additional clinics are in the process of being planned and will be announced.

Ripley County Health Department Director Pat Thomas noted that the county has done an outstanding job of getting the priority list checked off with vaccinations. Now, she urges all residents to roll up their sleeves and get the vaccine.

Ripley County Health Officer David J. Welsh, M.D., noted, “We now have a substantial supply of vaccine available for our county residents. We are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.”

If you are not able to make the scheduled clinic you can call the health department at 689-0506 for an appointment during business hours. The vaccine is also now available at local pharmacies including Kroger and Walgreens. Pharmacies can charge a fee of up to $19.59 to administer the 2009 H1N1 vaccine.

Although local officials are promoting the general public get vaccinated, there are still high risk groups that should definitely get immunized. They are: pregnant women, children six months to 24 years; people living with or caring for children under six months of age; individuals 25 to 64 years of age with underlying chronic conditions or who are immunocompromised; and health care providers and emergency medical services workers.

“It is very important the residents of our county do not get apathetic about the H1N1 flu,” said Dr. Welsh. “We have been presented with a great opportunity to get more of our residents vaccinated before a possible third wave of this pandemic influenza.”

Dr. Welsh noted that just because you have influenza-like illness or were told you had the flu by a doctor, you should still get the vaccine unless you received confirmation from a laboratory that you actually had 2009 H1N1 influenza.

As to a vaccine recall that was announced, officials say the recall was only for a vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline, and none of the vaccines distributed in Ripley County were made by the manufacturer.