Eligibility expanded for swine flu vaccine

The Mesa County Health Department has expanded the number of people who can receive the swine flu vaccine this week.

Health officials say people between the ages of 5 and 64 with chronic medical conditions can receive the vaccine. Previously, the Health Department limited vaccine availability to people between the ages of 5 and 24 with chronic medical conditions.

Department spokeswoman Kristy Emerson said the size of the pool of people eligible for the vaccine has changed based not only on the amount of vaccine available, but the type of vaccine. For example, she said, the intranasal vaccine that manufacturers introduced initially was available only to healthy individuals.

The Health Department decided this week to broaden the group of people who could make appointments after only 100 people scheduled vaccinations on Monday, according to Emerson.

“That meant to us that that group (ages 5 to 24) has been reached,” she said.

Health officials had 1,000 appointments available to split between Tuesday and Thursday. All 500 appointments were filled Tuesday. As of late Tuesday afternoon, 175 had been filled for Thursday, when appointments are available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

No appointments are available today because of the Veterans Day holiday.

People who want to make an appointment can do so by logging onto http://www.health.mesacounty.us and clicking on the red button that says “Schedule H1N1 Vaccine Appointment” or calling 683-6636.


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