The Merced County Health Department is giving swine flu vaccinations to an expanded group of people this week in the department’s health clinics.
The clinics will be held in new locations because official expect a larger turnout. The health department is still advising people to call their primary health care provider first for a flu shot, as local providers have begun receiving the swine flu vaccine.
A clinic will be held Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club at 615 W. 15th St. in Merced. Another clinic will be held at the club Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Los Banos Fairgrounds, 403 F St., will be the site of a clinic on Wednesday from 1 to 5 p.m. The clinic will be held in the O’Banion Auditorium.
The new target groups that will be eligible to receive the vaccine include pregnant women; individuals who live with or provide care for infants younger than 6 months of age, including parents, siblings and child care providers; health care and emergency medical services personnel; children and young adults between the ages of 6 months and 24 years; and individuals 25 to 64 years of age who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for flu-related complications.
The administrative fee will be waived for swine flu vaccine at the clinics for individuals who don’t have insurance coverage. People with medical insurance should bring their insurance identification cards, but co-payments will be waived for the vaccine.
Based on the expanded eligible populations, residents should be prepared for long wait times to get the vaccine at this week’s clinics.
For more general information on the flu and vaccine, including clinic hours and locations, call (209) 381-1180. For the same information in Spanish, call (209) 381-1181. For specific health-related questions on the vaccine, call (209) 381-1020.
More information on seasonal and pandemic influenza is available on the county’s website at www.co.merced.ca.us/flu.