H1N1 Update-information
Tri-Town H1N1 Clinics a Success, More Clinics in the Works

Tri-Town Board of Health officials (Kendell Quarles, Boxford; Derek Fullerton, Middleton; John Coulon, Topsfield) along with their Tri-Town H1N1 Planner, Heather LoRe, Nurse Practitioner, continue to hold H1N1 clinics in November and December as instructed by guidelines determined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) the first clinic was aimed at the highest-risk target group which included pregnant women and their household contacts.  Additional clinics have been held to reach household contacts and caregivers of children less than six months of age, and chronically ill children less than 18 years of age.  During the first week of December, clinics have been held to reach pre-k through high school children within all Tri-Town public and private schools.

It is very important that residents understand the reasons that highest-risk target groups are offered the H1N1 vaccine first.  These decisions are made at the CDC, ACIP and MDPH and are science-based recommendations to reach the most vulnerable in our community as soon as possible.  The guidelines include those who are most susceptible to very serious complications and hospitalization if they get sick with H1N1 flu.  

There are other high-risk target groups that are required to receive the H1N1 vaccine based on susceptibility to serious complications and the need for hospitalization.  Health officials have plans in place for future high-risk group H1N1 vaccination clinics.  These clinics can be ready quickly as more vaccine arrives.  Future announcements about these clinics will be made.  In order to vaccinate the highest-risk target groups first, each clinic will have a registration process and residents will have to follow this process in order to be vaccinated.  If enough vaccine becomes available to the local health departments after high risk target groups are reached, public clinics will be planned and announced.

The MDPH continues to request that residents call their primary care providers, obstetricians, specialty physicians and pediatricians to see if they can receive their H1N1 vaccination in their offices.  Health care providers who signed up to receive H1N1 vaccine have had their allotments delivered first.  It is recommended that all residents contact their healthcare providers and receive the seasonal flu vaccine, as well.  Retail clinics are announced at the following website http://flu.masspro.org and you can search for clinics in your area using your zip code.  

Residents are encouraged to learn more about the seasonal and H1N1 flu and vaccination at:  www.flu.gov.

For more information on upcoming clinics, please continue to visit the Middleton Health Department's webpage and press releases within the Tri-Town Transcipt newspaper.