HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced that 100,000 Pennsylvanians at-risk for the H1N1 flu were vaccinated during the weekend at public health clinics held by the Department of Health and local health departments.
"With the federal government unable to provide accurate estimates and projections regarding the availability of H1N1 vaccine, distribution has been challenging," said Governor Rendell. "Overall, we are pleased with the H1N1 vaccine distribution process in Pennsylvania. Holding public clinics across the state over the weekend allowed us to provide vaccine to 100,000 individuals in the recommended priority groups who did not have previous access to the vaccine."
Staffing for 18 Department of Health clinics, which were held in easily accessible locations around the state, was provided through a well-organized collaboration that included more than 325 Department of Health staff, 150 emergency medical service providers and 200 community volunteers. Average wait time at these clinics was 12 minutes.
Delaware, Lancaster and Lehigh county clinics reached full capacity, with every available appointment scheduled. The Department of Health is holding additional clinics for individuals in the recommended priority groups in each of these counties today and tomorrow. Appointments can be made by calling 1-877-PA HEALTH.
In addition to the 18 clinics offered by the Department of Health, vaccine was provided to the state's 10 county and municipal health departments.
As of today, the Centers for Disease Control has allocated 2,097,100 doses of H1N1 vaccine to Pennsylvania - which is far less than what was anticipated based on early estimates provided by the CDC. The vast majority of this vaccine has been distributed to 1,451 certified providers including physician's offices, schools, and hospitals around the state to vaccinate individuals in the recommended target groups at highest risk of getting H1N1 or severe complications.
As vaccine becomes available, the department will continue to fill orders for certified providers and local and county municipal health departments. The agency will also make H1N1 vaccine available at all 60 state health centers across the commonwealth to ensure access to those in the recommended groups. Beginning Monday, Nov. 30, citizens in the recommended target groups who do not have access to the vaccine can go to www.H1N1inPa.com to make an appointment online or call 1-877-PA HEALTH to set up an appointment.
Priority groups for receiving the H1N1 vaccination include pregnant women; persons six months to 24 years old; healthcare providers and emergency medical services personnel; parents, household members or caregivers of children under six months; and those under 65 with certain underlying medical conditions.
If the federal projections hold true, within the next few weeks the Department of Health expects to be able to move beyond the five target risk groups and make vaccine available to every Pennsylvanian who wants it.
Visit www.H1N1inPA.com to learn more about priority groups, potential vaccine side effects and other important information.
Stacy Kriedeman, Health; 717-787-1783
Gary Tuma, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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