King County Public Health announced Monday (Nov. 30th) that it is opening up four free H1N1 vaccine clinics beginning this Saturday, Dec. 5th, then again on Wednesday, Dec. 9th, as a way to provide access to people at highest risk for H1N1 influenza (swine flu) who cannot afford to pay.
The nearest clinics will be in Renton or Federal Way, with 4,000 doses total (distributed to all 4 sites) available on Saturday, Dec. 5th, from 9am to 5pm and 1,000 doses total on Wednesday, Dec. 9th, from Noon to 7pm; here’s the list:
- Renton Public Health Center (3001 NE 4th St., Renton)
- Federal Way Public Health Center (33431 13th Place S., Federal Way)
- Columbia Public Health Center (4400 37th Ave S., Seattle)
- North Public Health Center (10501 Meridian Ave N., Seattle)
Future clinic dates will be scheduled as more vaccine becomes available.
According to a press release:
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More H1N1 influenza vaccine continues to arrive every week, and most vaccine is still going to local health care providers for at risk patients. Local pharmacies are also receiving limited ongoing allocations.
“As more vaccine comes into the community, we’re continuing to allocate limited amounts to people without insurance or who can’t afford to pay,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “We encourage people to seek H1N1 vaccine through their health care providers or through pharmacies if they can afford the administrative cost or if insurance covers it.”
An estimated 280,000 people in King County who are at high-risk for complications have already been vaccinated for H1N1 influenza and an additional 90,000 doses of vaccine is on the ground or in the process of being shipped to vaccine providers in the county. Though flu illness seems to have peaked locally, at least temporarily, H1N1 illness continues in the community, and vaccination is the best wait to protect against H1N1 influenza.
On December 5, there will be a total of 4,000 doses of vaccine available across the four sites, and on December 9, there will be 1,000 doses of vaccine. Vaccinations are first come, first served, and no reservations will be taken. If demand is high, people will be given a time later that day to return for a guaranteed vaccination. Once supply is exhausted, people will be told as soon as they arrive.
The ability to pay will be determined on the honor system, and it will be assumed that people getting vaccinated at one of the four clinics cannot afford the administrative cost of H1N1 vaccination.
Most of the vaccine arriving to King County continues to be allocated to health care providers so that they can vaccinate patients who are most at risk, including:
- Pregnant women
- People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
- People between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old
- People between 25 through 64 years of age with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems
- Healthcare and emergency workers
People who are recommended to receive H1N1 vaccine should continue to seek it. Vaccine supply is gradually improving each week, and it is expected that eventually there will be enough vaccine in King County for anyone who wants it.
Visit the Public Health H1N1 influenza website at www.kingcounty.gov/health/H1N1  for updates on vaccine availability in the community or call the Flu Hotline at 1-877-903-KING (5464), which is staffed with operators to answer questions from King County residents about H1N1 influenza. Hours of operation with operators are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with special 24-hour nurse line service extended over this weekend for people with flu seeking medical care advice. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day.