JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) announces the availability of both the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) injectable and nasal mist vaccine to the general public. Both the injectable vaccine and the nasal mist vaccine are free at all county health departments. Some private providers and pharmacies also have the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine available.
Interim State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier encourages everyone to get their swine flu vaccine now that it is available. “It’s the perfect time to get vaccinated for both types of influenza before everyone gets together for the holidays. We don’t know which type of flu we will see during regular flu season and we need to be prepared for both seasonal and swine flu.”
So far, 807,300 swine flu doses have been allocated for Mississippi schools, county health departments and private providers. Of those doses, 619,900 are injectable vaccine and 187,400 are nasal mist vaccine.Individual county doses are based on population.
Over the past several months, MSDH and private providers throughout the state have been working to “adopt” schools in order to vaccinate Mississippi students. Currently, 443 schools have been adopted by MSDH, and 611 have been adopted by private healthcare providers. The vaccinations of the nearly 500,000 school-aged children in Mississippians are expected to take several weeks to complete.
Swine flu antiviral medications are available free of charge for uninsured and underinsured Mississippians who have been diagnosed with swine flu. These antivirals will only be available through a prescription from a medical doctor. MSDH has entered into agreements with selected pharmacies throughout the state to help distribute Tamiflu® and Relenza® from the state and federal stockpiles to patients who cannot otherwise afford them.
In order to receive these free medications, the patient must bring a prescription for the medication and a signed document from their healthcare provider indicating to which high risk group the patient belongs. The healthcare provider will refer patients who qualify to participating pharmacies.
For additional personal protection against both seasonal and swine flu, Dr. Mary Currier recommends all Mississippians continue using basic prevention methods including washing your hands frequently or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve, or coughing into a tissue followed by hand washing, and avoiding close contact with those who are sick. If you are ill, stay home until you are well, unless you need to see a doctor, in which case call first to prevent possible transmission in the doctor’s waiting area.
For more information on swine flu or the availability of free antiviral medications, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com or call the toll-free MSDH flu hotline at 1-877-222-9FLU. The hotline hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except state holidays.To receive updates on Twitter, visit the MSDH H1N1 swine flu page to sign up as a follower.