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H1N1 vaccine demand is low

Since the restrictions were lifted on who could receive the H1N1 vaccine at the end of December, only a small percentage of the local population has taken advantage of the free vaccines from Covington County Health Department.

“We just finished the second round of (H1N1) vaccinations in the schools where it was given to about 10 to 11 percent of the total number of students in the county,” said Ziba Anderson, CCHD director. “But on the walk-in side (at the health department) on average, about 10 people a day come for the vaccine.”

Since July, there have been 40 influenza-related deaths in Alabama, and with the unpredictability of flu seasons, health officials are urging citizens to get vaccinated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the years past, seasonal flu activity typically did not reach its peak in the U.S. until January or February; however, flu activity has occurred throughout the year.

“So basically it’s unknown when the flu activity will increase, when it will be the most intense or how long it will last, and we’re headed right into that specific time frame,” Anderson said. “People should continue to take advantage of these vaccinations.”

Walk-ins are welcome from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the health department.

Additionally, a flu vaccination clinic has been specifically set Wed., Jan. 27, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Seasonal flu vaccines, as well as the H1N1 flu vaccine, will be available to all citizens. There is no charge for H1N1, but there is a $5 charge for the seasonal vaccination. All Medicaid and Medicare participants should bring their cards with them.