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Expectant mothers get first dibs for county H1N1 vaccine
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The Stanislaus County Health Services Agency has decided to use their limited supply of the H1N1 virus vaccine to inoculate pregnant women.
“Public Health is working to ensure that those most vulnerable to severe  complications from H1N1 receive the needed vaccinations,” said Cleopathia Moore-Bell, the maternal, child, adolescent health director and associate director at  the Health Services Agency. “To ensure this we will be working with the health care provider community to make sure that pregnant women closest to delivery receive vaccine.”    
Pregnant women receiving vaccine from the public health department should be aware that the vaccine being made available has a preservative that contains mercury. Ideally, pregnant women should receive the “preservative-free” vaccine, but because of a national shortage, the California Department of Public Health approved a waiver allowing pregnant women to receive vaccine with preservative.   
The county received 600 doses of the vaccine and will disperse them to pregnant women in their second and third trimesters.
Pregnant women have been identified as a high risk group because their immune systems are more susceptible to influenza viruses.
The public health department has temporarily reopened the walk-in clinic at the annex building in the Health Services Agency campus at 820 Scenic Dr. in Modesto. The clinic hours are from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The shots will be available through Friday.
Before coming in for a shot, expectant mothers will need to call their medical  providers first. Some medical providers, including obstetricians, are receiving shipments of H1N1 flu vaccine and they may be able to  receive it from their regular medical provider. If they are not, pregnant women will need to  provide a referral from their obstetrician that includes their expected date of delivery and also bring proof of a Stanislaus County address.    
The clinic is being designated for pregnant women only. Children will not be allowed in the H1N1 annex clinic.
The H1N1 virus is now the dominant flu virus circulating around the world and is widespread in 48 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC reported more than 38 million doses of vaccine are available for states to order. As of Wednesday, 26.2 million doses have been shipped, but finding the vaccine remains a persistent problem for many Americans. A Harvard School of Public Health telephone survey conducted between Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, revealed that four out of 10 parents and one out of five high-priority adults were searching for the H1N1 vaccine.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.