H1N1 vaccine available to all in North Carolina

Posted by Lauren Thomson - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Everyone in North Carolina who wants to receive an H1N1 vaccine should be able to get one, according to North Carolina Division of Public Health officials.

Until now, providers have been prioritizing the supply for those considered "at-risk". State Public Health Director Jeffrey Engel said Tuesday demand by those groups has dropped off.

The state has more than two million doses of the vaccine on hand.

"In many areas of the state, it appears demand for the vaccine by those in the groups initially targeted for vaccination has begun to drop off," Dr. Engel said in a news release. "We now feel comfortable broadening vaccination efforts so anyone who wants the H1N1 vaccine may receive it."

Dr. Engel notified county health departments and other providers of the news by video conference.

"As we enter this new phase, it is important for people to remember that we are still in the midst of an ongoing pandemic," Dr. Engel said. "While the number of cases may be going down, the rate of influenza illness is still high, and we can expect another wave of influenza as we reach the peak of the regular flu season. If you have not yet been vaccinated, we urge you to do so."

At least three people have died from H1N1 in the Wilmington area in 2009.

Since April, North Carolina has reported 74 deaths from influenza-like illnesses.

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