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Monday, December 7th, 2009
By Shelley Grieshop
Public to get H1N1 vaccine
Clinic in Celina
  After weeks of clinics, health officials locally and across the state will begin next week to vaccinate the general public against the H1N1 flu.
The first general public clinic is Dec. 15 at Celina High School from 3:30-7 p.m. Adults are asked to bring identification such as a driver's license. There is no charge.
Previous H1N1 flu clinics targeted high risk groups only such as pregnant women, young children, health care workers and those with chronic health conditions. Those priority populations are still urged to get vaccinated if they haven't yet done so, officials say.
Even though people over the age of 65 are not considered at high risk for the H1N1 flu, they can receive the H1N1 vaccine beginning next week if they choose, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention.
Nearly 2.3 million doses of the vaccine are already available in the state of Ohio and more is expected to arrive each week. Officials evaluated several factors such as supply and input from local health departments before making the decision to distribute the vaccine to the general public.
Influenza is still considered widespread in Ohio - one of 25 states across the U.S. still dealing with a high number of H1N1 cases. The most recent data from the CDC states that 251 people have died in the U.S. from H1N1 flu since April 26. Ohio has reported 30 deaths including a middle-age Van Wert man who passed away in mid-November.
Ohioans are still urged to take precautions against the H1N1 flu and the seasonal flu, which typically arrives in the local area in late December or early January. Steps that can be taken to stop the spread of the illnesses include washing hands thoroughly and often, covering mouths when sneezing or coughing and staying home from work or school when sick.
For more information on the vaccine, check out the Ohio Department of Health's Web site at www.flu.ohio.gov or call the information line at 866-800-1404 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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