Friday, October 30, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine

H1N1 Vaccine Locations

The H1N1 vaccine continues to trickle into the state. So far, Oregon has received about 6 percent of the vaccine necessary for the people in priority groups, which accounts for about half of Oregon's population, according to reports.

Five private manufacturers are delivering the vaccine around the country as soon as it is produced. In Oregon, counties and tribes request the supply and decide how to distribute it to individual health care providers and clinics. The amount of vaccine is allocated to counties on a per-capita basis.

For most people, a case H1N1 flu is no worse than seasonal flu, lasting about 7-10 days with the vast majority of people getting better without seeking medical attention.

Since Sept. 1, 2009, 482 people in 24 counties have been hospitalized in Oregon with influenza-like illness; 15 people in eight counties have died.

Oregon Public Health has activated the emergency operations center full time to coordinate the state's response to pandemic H1N1 and ensure that the most up-to-date information is available. The center is working closely with local health departments and monitoring hospital capacity and supplies.

Hospitals and health care providers in some Oregon counties have experienced a surge of patients, but so far there is enough capacity to care for people with symptoms severe enough to require hospitalization. On Oct. 26, President Obama declared a national state of emergency in response to pandemic H1N1. This action allows hospitals to waive certain regulatory requirements so they can respond better to the emergency, such as making it easier to transfer patients between facilities.

The Columbia Health District will hold a walk-in clinic for free H1N1 (swine flu) vaccinations Friday at the public health office, 2370 Gable Road in St. Helens, Ore. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or until the vaccine runs out. Both nasal spray and injectable vaccines are available. Priority will be given to people considered at greatest risk from H1N1:

• Pregnant women

• Caregivers for children under 6 months of age

• Health care and emergency medical services personnel, such as firefighters, law enforcement officers

• Children 6 months through 18 years of age

• Young adults 19 through 24 years of age

Adults age 25 through 64 who have higher risk health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, chronic heart disease, compromised immune system or liver or kidney disease.

Swine Flu Emergency Reshapes Hospital Plans
PORTLAND- The national emergency declaration by President Barack Obama has little to do with the speed the H1N1 vaccine wil be produced and distributed. But it does affect the way medical centers are able to treat patients.

The declaration loosens some federal regulations regarding patient privacy, access to care, and the movement of patients from one facility to another.

Leaders at Legacy Health System have been discussing emergency treatment options for some time. They met Monday to make potential plans that the declaration allows.

"It allows hospitals, nursing homes all kinds of medical facilities all kinds of alternatives to deal with what could be burgeoning patient loads", according to Brian Terrett, Legacy's Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications.
The tents that are set up outside Legacy Emmanuel and other medical centers are an example of what the declaration allows more easily: patient privacy regulations being eased means a triage center can be set up in a more public place like a parking lot.

The declaration could allow patient treatment centers in places as large as a warehouse or even Memorial Coliseum. For now, Legacy is looking at smaller venues. A corner building next to Good Samaritan Hospital has a vacancy; the former FedEx Kinkos could become an H1N1 patient center under the emergency declaration, if Legacy decides it needs it. For now, it doesn't.
H1N1 Vaccine: By Appointment Only
SALEM -Marion County received its first supply of the H1N1 vaccine earlier this month.

Now, it's beginning to distribute the supply. Instead of long lines and frustrated patients, the county is taking appointments to schedule its distribution.

Right now, the county is asking people to call your health care provider first to see if it's distributing the vaccine too. If not, Marion County says the H1N1 vaccine is only available to people in the high risk priority groups.

If you're pregnant, care for children younger than 6 months old, all children between 6 months-24 years old, or adults with chronic illness are considered to be among the highest risk.

Marion County will begin taking more appointments, by phone, beginning at 8:30 AM Monday morning.

H1N1 Vaccine Appointment Phone Number: 503-584-4870.

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