MS health officials ask for public patience with H1N1 vaccine

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - State health officials are asking for patience as Mississippi prepares to pass out its first batch of H1N1 or Swine Flu vaccine. Dr. Bob Travnicek of the State Health Department says the vaccine will be available, starting Monday, at all clinics in the six southernmost counties. It's free and no appointment is needed.

However, at this time officials say health departments will only provide doses to people deemed high risk. That group includes pregnant women, children ages six months to four years old,  and caregivers of children under six months old.

"We have a priority," said Dr. Travnicek. "This is a very special kind of flu. It affects younger people mainly under 24 and particularly children. We've had more than our share of pediatric deaths particularly here along the coast. We want to be aware of that. Everyone wants to aware of that and ask everyone else, even though you're afraid, please stand aside and let those people who we have enough vaccine and who are at high risk to come in and get the vaccine."

He continued, "Once that's done, we'll make an announcement immediately when we have a vaccine enough for everybody else. "

Mississippi has been given more than 200,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine. Dr. Bob Travnicek says the federal government handed out a certain amount based on each state's population.

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