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Children top priority for H1N1 vaccination
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Child Flu Deaths

As of April
• 76 children have died from the H1N1 virus
• 19 of those 76 deaths occurred in the past week

Over the last three years
• 46 to 88 children have died from the seasonal flu
The first shipment of the H1N1 virus vaccine has arrived in Stanislaus County and is being dispensed to those considered to have the greatest risk of serious complications from the virulent flu strain.
According to the Stanislaus County Health and Human Services Agency, there were about 4,300 doses of the nasal spray vaccine delivered to area clinics and medical offices.
The Centers for Disease Control has identified groups of the population that have the greatest risk of developing complications from the H1N1 virus, or more commonly known as swine flu. Among those with priority for the vaccines are: Pregnant women, those between the ages of 6 months to 24 years, caretakers of infants, health care providers, and those with underlying medical conditions.
The California Public Health Department is advocating the first round of nasal spray vaccines be given to children age 2 years to 10 years and parents with infants younger than 6 months. This recommendation comes as the CDC reported Friday an increase in H1N1 deaths in children. Since the virus first appeared in the United States in April, there have been 76 children that have died from the disease, 19 of which were just within the last week, according to the CDC.
Over the last three years seasonal flu caused the death of 46 to 88 children, the CDC reported.
“So we have already had 76 children dying from the 2009 H1N1 virus, and it’s only the beginning of October,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said in a press statement. “We are seeing more illness, more hospitalizations, and more deaths each week from the flu.”
The CDC reported Friday that the H1N1 virus is now widespread in 37 states, up by 10 from the week before. As of Sept. 26, the state health department has recorded 2,510 hospitalizations and 188 deaths from the virus.
Stanislaus County has had 63 hospitalizations and seven deaths and Merced County has reported 33 hospitalized cases and two deaths.
The injectable vaccine is expected to be made available to health care workers next week. Over the next few weeks the vaccines will become available to anyone who wants one.
The nasal spray is not recommended for pregnant women and people with asthma.
As the supply of the vaccine increases, the county health department will hold H1N1 flu shot clinics through out the county.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.