H1N1 swine flu vaccine available

The health department has obtained 3.5 million doses of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine -- good news for high risk patients who have not been able to obtain the vaccine ahead of the winter season.

The department has asked the private sector to help with a nationwide immunisation campaign for high risk patients, it said in a statement on Monday.

Those eligible to receive the H1N1 swine flu vaccine were:

  • pregnant women;
  • patients with HIV and Aids and who qualified for antiretrovirals (including children over six months), confidentiality guaranteed;
  • patients with chronic heart disease (including children over six months). Chronic heart disease could be any chronic condition associated with the heart, such as high blood pressure, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes associated with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, congestive cardiac failure, or heart surgery; and
  • patients with chronic lung disease (including children over six months). Chronic lung disease could be any chronic condition associated with the lungs, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, lung cancer, cystic fybrosis, and chronic bronchitis.

Vaccinations would be available from Clicks and Link Pharmacy Clinics.

Clicks managing director Michael Harvey said the company had received 300,000 doses of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine, and had put systems in place to cope with the expected high demand.

"With 108 Clicks Pharmacy Clinics participating nationwide, we are really pleased to be partnering with government to help curb the spread of swine flu this season, as part of our long-term vision of making primary health care more affordable and accessible for both medical aid and non-medical aid patients."

He urged people who qualified for vaccinations to contact their closest Clicks and Link Pharmacy Clinics as soon as possible, to check availability and make an appointment.

Eligible high risk patients would need to bring proof that they were taking chronic medication or a referral letter from a doctor confirming their condition.

"If you need advice or assistance with regards to your high risk condition, do not hesitate to ask your Clicks or Link Pharmacist or nursing sister," Harvey said.

The cost of administering the vaccine at Clicks is R9.95 (incl. VAT) each. - (Sapa, June 2010)

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