Collier now offering swine flu shots to healthy adults younger than 65

Registered nurse Carli Clendenen administers swine flu vaccine to the nose of Christia Garcia, 2, while his dad Salvador holds him. Over 1,000 people in high-risk categories received the H1N1 vaccine at Collier's first H1N1 clinic Friday on the East Trail.

Lance Shearer/ Special to the Eagle

Registered nurse Carli Clendenen administers swine flu vaccine to the nose of Christia Garcia, 2, while his dad Salvador holds him. Over 1,000 people in high-risk categories received the H1N1 vaccine at Collier's first H1N1 clinic Friday on the East Trail.

■ Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the former Kmart, 12693 U.S. 41 East.

■ Sunday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Immokalee Health Department, 419 First St. in Immokalee.

■ Monday, Dec. 7, and Thursday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the North Collier Regional Park Exhibit Hall, 15000 Livingston Road.

■ Tuesday, Dec. 8, and Friday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the former Kmart at 12693 U.S. 41. S.

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— The Collier County Health Department is calling on healthy adults younger than 65 to seek out the H1N1 vaccination against the swine flu.

The call also is going out to elders 65 and older with an underlying medical condition to come to a vaccination clinic, starting Saturday or in the coming weeks.

The health department is now expanding the scope of at-risk populations for vaccinating against the H1N1 flu to include those two groups.

“We are expecting to see another surge because over the last month we received hundreds of calls a week from people over 65 who have an underlying medical condition,” said Deb Millsap, spokeswoman for the health department. “They are very concerned.”

Others who were not part of the first wave of priority groups and people who will be traveling for Christmas have been asking when they can get the shot to build up an immunity against the H1N1 flu, she said.

“The 65 and older who are healthy, they are not eligible yet,” she said. “We hope to start with that group at the end of December or early January,” she said.

Since the health department began vaccinating high-risk populations Nov. 4, the vaccine has been given to 46,097 people, including children at schools, she said. That is 40 percent of the total of first-priority risk groups.

The breakdown is 3,000 pregnant women, out of an estimated 5,000 pregnant women in the community, and 4,750 health care and EMS personnel have gotten the shot out of 10,106 workers in those fields.

With respect to the target group of babies and young adults aged six months to 24 years old, the department has immunized 10,900 individuals out of an estimated 71,718 in that category, statistics show.

And for adults 25 to 64 with medical conditions, 4,700 individuals of an estimated 22,915 have received the shot.

“We feel very comfortable we have given the initial risk groups ample time to get in and (we now) want to get the next groups done before the surge or influx of seasonal residents,” she said.

Because the H1N1 is free, the health department cannot discriminate against seasonal residents or visitors who could not get the shot in the hometowns.

“We don’t ask where they come from,” she said.

Connect with health-care reporter Liz Freeman at www.naplesnews.com/staff/liz_freemanBy Liz Freeman

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