With delivery this week of the first doses of injectable vaccine against swine flu, Baltimore City and some area counties have begun scheduling their first public clinics for priority groups: those ages 6 months to 24 years, pregnant women, health care workers, people taking care of infants, and adults ages 25-64 with underlying health conditions.
Baltimore City will hold its first large swine flu clinic today at Polytechnic Institute for children 2 and older and adults up to age 24. Public clinics in Baltimore County will start Friday at two middle schools.
A small amount of the nasal spray version of the vaccine arrived at health departments last week and was immediately handed out to some in the groups recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to be first in line for the vaccine. Some doctors' offices and hospitals also got vaccine in the first round to give to their workers. But pregnant women could not receive the nasal spray because it contains a live virus.
There still is not enough of the vaccine available to vaccinate all in the priority groups, including schoolchildren. State health officials have said they believe there will be sufficient supplies for the children by the end of October or the beginning of November. The swine flu, or H1N1 flu, surfaced too late in the season for the virus to be included in the seasonal flu vaccine. Manufacturers have largely switched production to the new flu vaccine, and shipments are being made by the federal government - which bought 250 million doses - as soon as they are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
There is no cost for the H1N1 vaccine, though some providers may charge an administrative fee.
Here are the latest public clinics announced:
•The Baltimore City Health Department will offer the nasal spray version of the swine flu vaccine at a clinic for healthy city residents ages 2 to 24. Proof of age and city residency will be required. It will be held from noon to 8 p.m. today at Polytechnic, 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane. Call 410-396-4398 or go to baltimorehealth.org for updates.
•The Baltimore County Health Department plans clinics for those in the priority groups, with additional clinics to be held based on availability of the vaccine. The injectable and the nasal spray will be available at a clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at General John Stricker Middle in Dundalk and Old Court Middle School in Pikesville. Additional clinics are slated for 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 21 at Lansdowne Middle, Perry Hall Middle and Ridgely Middle; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 24 at Lansdowne Middle, Perry Hall Middle and Ridgely Middle; 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 28 at General John Stricker Middle, Old Court Middle and Ridgely Middle; 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 3 at General John Stricker Middle, Lansdowne Middle and Ridgely Middle; 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 5 at General John Stricker Middle, Lansdowne Middle and Ridgely Middle; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 7 at General John Stricker Middle, Lansdowne Middle and Ridgely Middle. Call 410-887-2243 for updates or go to baltimorecountymd.gov/agencies/health.
•The Anne Arundel County Health Department plans swine flu clinics by appointment to county residents in priority groups. Supplies are limited and appointments will be made on a first come, first served basis at these clinics: Annapolis Health Center, 3 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. today, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 22 and Oct. 29; Glen Burnie Health Center, 416 A St., SW, Glen Burnie, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 19, 21, 26, 28 and Nov. 2 and 4; and Odenton Health Center, 1370 Odenton Road, Odenton, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 20, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3. Call 410-222-4896 for an appointment or for updates go to aahealth.org.
•Carroll County Health Department is using its limited doses of the vaccine for health care workers and will hold public clinics for vulnerable populations once more vaccine is received. For updates, go to carrollhealthdepartment.dhmh.md.gov.
•Harford County Health Department has no public clinics scheduled because of the limited doses available but will plan the clinics for target populations, and then the general public, once more vaccine is received. The county is targeting schools with higher levels of flu activity for the doses it does have now, including St. Margaret Elementary School and John Archer School, a public special-education school. For updates, go to harfordcountyhealth.com.
•Howard County Health Department has not announced its clinic schedule. Officials say 103 clinics are planned but there isn't enough vaccine for all of them yet, so limited supplies are going to health care workers and first responders. For updates, go to howardcountymd.gov.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun