The Tennessee Department of Health is reminding parents that children under the age of 10 require two doses of H1N1 flu vaccine in order to be fully immunized against the virus.
H1N1 flu vaccine is plentiful in Tennessee and widely available through county health departments and other providers across the state. Tennessee’s county health departments are providing this vaccine at no charge to patients.
“We urge parents not to put off getting their child’s second dose of H1N1 flu vaccine,” said Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN. “H1N1 flu activity could continue for months, and this is also the time of year when seasonal flu viruses appear. It’s not too late to get these important vaccinations to be sure your child is protected throughout the flu season.”
According to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all children between the ages of 6 months and 9 years need two doses of H1N1 vaccine in order to have full immunity against the virus. These doses should be spaced at least four weeks apart.
Children of all ages have a high risk of contracting influenza, especially children under the age of 2. Any child who has a chronic health condition like asthma, neurological conditions, sickle cell disease, heart disease or diabetes is at increased risk for complications from flu. Getting the flu can mean children missing school and activities, and sometimes results in hospitalization or, sadly, even death. From April through December 2009, the CDC has reported 289 flu-related deaths in children. Of those deaths, 12 were children in Tennessee.
To date, Tennessee has distributed more than 2.45 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine to health providers across the state. Vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza.
If you have questions about H1N1 flu vaccine, contact your health provider or the Tennessee Flu Information Line toll-free at 1-877-252-3432. To find your nearest flu vaccine locations, visit the Tennessee Department of Health Flu Shot Locator at http://health.state.tn.us/fluclinic/default.aspx. You may also call the Wilson County Health Department at 444-5325.