NH DHHS Recognizes National Influenza Immunization Week

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recognizes National Influenza Immunization Week, January 10-16, 2010, to highlight the importance of getting vaccinated against seasonal flu, and this year H1N1 pandemic flu. The New Hampshire Immunization Program wants to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of vaccination against the H1N1 pandemic flu and seasonal influenza.

Between April and mid-November there were approximately 47 million cases of H1N1 worldwide. Pregnant women, those under 24, and people with chronic health conditions such as asthma are the most at risk for complications and death from H1N1. It is estimated that the H1N1 flu has caused between 2500 and 6000 deaths in the U.S. so far, over 240 them in children. There is concern that another wave will happen, but since no one knows when that will be it is important that people receive the vaccine.

“In New Hampshire over 200,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine have been administered so far through healthcare providers, hospitals, public clinics, and private pharmacies,” said Dr. Jose Montero, Public Health Director. “The public inquiry line at 211NH has handled over 2,700 calls since October. This has been an unprecedented effort by many, many individuals and we want to thank all of them for their hard work, especially the providers, 211NH, schools, and the local All Health Hazard Regions and the volunteers who helped make all of this happen.”

There are plenty of doses of H1N1 vaccine available in New Hampshire and it is being offered to anyone over the age of 6 months. Clinics are listed on the www.nh.gov website. Over 450,000 doses have been shipped to the State from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is definitely not too late to be vaccinated against H1N1,” said Montero. “This vaccine has proven to be extremely safe and is made the same way as the seasonal influenza vaccine and has undergone the same testing procedures. “

Flu season is often unpredictable. Though virtually all flu samples tested in New Hampshire and the United States so far have been H1N1 flu, this may change in the coming months. It is estimated that seasonal flu causes 36,000 deaths and over 200,000 hospitalizations every year in the United States.

For more information about H1N1 flu visit www.nh.gov, www.cdc.gov/h1N1flu, or www.flu.gov. To find an H1N1 vaccine clinic near you, go to www.nh.gov/h1n1/vaccine.htm or call the NH H1N1 Information Line by dialing 211. For more information about the NH Immunization Program visit http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/DHHS/IMMUNIZATION/default.htm or call them at 603-271-4482.