Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Swine flu vaccine available to everyone

Swine flu vaccine was offered officially to the public Monday for the first time since the H1N1 vaccination campaign began in October.

Until now, the vaccine had been reserved for people in high-risk groups: pregnant women, people who care for babies 6 months old and younger, health-care workers, children and young adults 5 to 24 years old and people 25 to 64 years old with underlying health conditions.

Now that anyone is eligible, the state Department of Health and Hospitals expects an initial surge of people will go to their doctors or local pharmacies to get vaccinated, said Dr. James Guidry, DHH medical director and the state health officer.

So far, about 276,000 people have been vaccinated in Louisiana, far fewer than the number state health officials said is needed to protect the state from an outbreak.

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