Health Department offering H1N1 vaccines to all

Shelby County Health Department officials have begun providing H1N1 vaccinations to all county residents, marking the first time this year the vaccination has been available to the general public.

Because vaccination shipments have been slow to reach Alabama during the past several months, health officials have been forced to limit the vaccinations to groups of people at the most risk of getting the disease, according to Alabama Health Officer Donald Williamson.

However, health officials began offering the vaccinations to all Alabama residents Dec. 22.

“Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from this potentially serious disease,” Williamson wrote in a press release. “We have removed all restrictions, and everyone is now eligible for this safe and effective vaccine.”

The vaccines will be available at the Shelby County Health Department in Pelham Dec. 23-24 and Dec. 28-29 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Dec. 30 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Dec. 31 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

The vaccination will also be available Jan. 4-6 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Jan. 7 from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Jan. 8 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

The Shelby County Health Department is located at 2000 County Services Drive in Pelham.

State health officials will also begin offering in-school vaccinations to students ages 10 and older after children return to school after the Christmas break. Schools have been holding clinics for children younger than 10 since the beginning of December.

Because children younger than 10 require two vaccinations about one month apart, students given their first vaccine in December will be able to get their second vaccine in January and February.

All in-school clinics for children under 10 will feature the nasal mist vaccine. Children who receive their first dose after the Christmas holidays must get their second dose at a doctor’s office or at the Shelby County Health Department.