H1N1 vaccines are here-high risk groups will get vaccine

Everyone is encouraged to wash hands frequently to prevent the spread of illness.

Everyone is encouraged to wash hands frequently as it is the best way to reduce the spread of infection.

Everyday, updates on the H1N1 virus make the headlines. After much talk and waiting, the H1N1 vaccine is here.

The vaccine will eventually be available for free to all Nova Scotians who want it.

The Government of Nova Scotia website, www.gov.ns.ca states that:

Dr. Strang announced late Thursday afternoon (November 5) that people in the following groups are now eligible to receive H1N1 vaccine:

-Children 19 and under with chronic medical conditions for which they receive regular medical attention, including morbid obesity.

-Women who have just given birth, and their partners.

This is in addition to people in the first risk group, announced last week, who are still eligible to get vaccinated:

-Children six months to under 5 years of age.

-Pregnant women up to 4 weeks post-partum.

-Front-line healthcare workers.

-First Nations communities.

If you are not in one of these target groups, the H1N1 vaccine will be made available to you at a later date. Nova Scotia will have enough vaccines for every Nova Scotian over the coming weeks. Please check the website regularly for updates and additional information.

Unfortunately at this time we do not have vaccines for children’s parents, caregivers or older siblings.

The H1N1 vaccine will be available through community clinics, some doctor offices and workplace clinics.

“I have every confidence that the H1N1 vaccine is safe and effective for Nova Scotians,” said Dr. Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer. “I urge all Nova Scotians to get the H1N1 vaccine. It is the best way to protect yourself and your community.”

Along with immunization, people are reminded to take the following steps to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus and any other illness:

-Wash hands often with soap and water. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a good alternative.

-Cough and sneeze into sleeve.

-Dispose of tissue appropriately and wash hands.

-Limit touching eyes, nose and mouth.

-Do not share water bottles, cosmetics, eating utensils, or anything that comes in contact with your mouth or face.

For more information and the latest updates visit www.gov.ns.ca and www.cdha.nshealth.ca.

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