NH DHHS Expands Priority Groups for H1N1 Vaccination

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announced it is expanding the H1N1 vaccination campaign to include additional groups of people who are at higher risk for complications from H1N1. In addition, the state will begin hosting vaccination clinics in the next several weeks for certain high-risk adults.

Based on Centers for Disease Control and New Hampshire Ethics guidelines, the following groups are now eligible to receive the H1N1 vaccine: ·

People caring for or living with infants younger than 6 months old (including partners of pregnant women)
Children 6 months to 4 years old
· People 18 – 24 years old with underlying medical conditions
In addition, the following groups remain eligible to receive the vaccine:
· Health care workers and first responders with direct patient contact
· Pregnant women
· Children 6 months to 18 years old with chronic medical conditions

“It is critical that those most at risk receive high priority for the H1N1vaccine,” said Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. “We encourage those who are in high-risk groups to get vaccinated, as the H1N1 vaccine is the best protection for you and your loved ones against this illness.”

“To expedite the distribution of the vaccine, we are asking people over age 18 to receive their vaccine at clinics that will be held across the state in the next several weeks, rather than their doctors’ offices,” Dr. Montero said. “Children and pregnant women should continue to receive the vaccine through their health care providers.”

“We are asking at-risk patients to make appointments to ensure there are adequate vaccine supplies available,” Dr. Montero said. “We also continue to ask other citizens to allow those who face the greatest risks to get vaccinated first.”

The clinics will be organized through local colleges and through the State’s All Health Hazard Regions, and will be by appointment only. Given the availability of vaccine supplies from manufacturers, Public Health estimates that it will take several weeks to vaccinate members of these groups.

A listing of clinic information, and contact information for making appointments, will be posted on the state’s H1N1 resource center at www.nh.gov by the end of the week.

Also, for questions about H1N1 or about the vaccination clinics, people can call the NH Public Inquiry line between 8 and 5 by dialing 2-1-1 or 866-444-4211.

“We are working to move vaccine supplies out to high-risk groups as quickly as we can,” Dr. Montero said. “Unfortunately due to delays in manufacturing of the H1N1 vaccine, we have not received the supply that we had hoped to have distributed by now. We are asking people to be patient as we continue to vaccinate these priority groups. As the supply of vaccine increases, we will continue to expand vaccination efforts.”

Additional H1N1 resources are available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov and the US Department of Health and Human Services at www.flu.gov.