Free H1N1 vaccine

To the Editor:

Jan. 10 was the kickoff for National Influenza Vaccination Week. The Sheboygan County Division of Public Health wants to take this opportunity to remind people that H1N1 vaccine is widely available to the general public and free of charge through any of our community clinics.

Flu activity may be slowing, but as with past pandemics another wave of disease could likely occur later this year. On Jan. 7 in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention press conference, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, referred to the influenza pandemic of 1957-58 and hoped people today would take advantage of the available vaccine. She remarked the 1957-58 pandemic showed peak activity in October, just as 2009 H1N1, then dropped back to normal levels in December and surged again in the latter part of February.

“In 1957 they essentially gave the all-clear whistle in that December-January time period. They had vaccine, but they didn't encourage its use, and they did go on to see an increase in mortality.”

Of course, no pandemic acts exactly as another. Truly what is important is that we learn from history and not become complacent. We have the capability to keep each other safe and protected from this virus. We encourage everyone to be vaccinated.

The Division of Public Health has clinics scheduled through the middle of February. A list of free community clinic dates can be found by calling a pre-recorded clinic line at 459-3033. An allinclusive vaccine availability list with pharmacy, medical site and local health department information can be found by going to the Wisconsin 211 Flu Clinic Locator Web site at www.wisconsinfluclinic.info or by calling 2-1-1.

Dale Hippensteel, Sheboygan County health officer


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