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MDCH Expands H1N1 Vaccine to all Residents Statewide

Contact: James McCurtis, Jr. (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health, Department of

December 8, 2009

LANSING - The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) in partnership with the 45 local health departments is entering the next phase of its distribution strategy and will expand H1N1 influenza vaccine to all Michigan residents by Monday, Dec. 14. Some local health departments are starting today. Residents are advised to call their local health departments to determine vaccine availability.

While all residents will be eligible for vaccine, health officials continue to strongly encourage the previous target group including pregnant women, people who live with or care for children less than 6 months of age, all people 6 months to 24 years, and people 25 to 64 years with chronic medical conditions to get vaccinated. Beginning the week of December 14, these individuals will continue to be eligible for vaccination, along with other Michigan residents who are not in the risk groups.

"We encourage everyone to get vaccinated because it is the best way to prevent the flu," Dr. Greg Holzman, chief medical executive for MDCH. "The more people who are immune, the less likely the virus will spread in our communities."

More than 2.1 million doses of the vaccine have been ordered in Michigan and more is expected to arrive each week. Health officials evaluated several factors before making the decision to lift restrictions on vaccine eligibility, including prior vaccine distribution, feedback from local health departments and discussions with other state and federal health officials.

In addition to being vaccinated, Michigan residents can help stop the spread of the virus by washing hands thoroughly and often; covering mouths when sneezing or coughing; and staying home from work or school if sick.

For more information on vaccine availability, check the MDCH Web site at www.michigan.gov/MDCH. You can also follow MDCH on Facebook and Twitter by going to the Web site. Also, call your local county health department or 2-1-1 public information hotline. If 2-1-1 doesn't work in your area, you can call 866-561-2500 or 800-552-1183.