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Update: County clinics to offer Saturday H1N1 flu shots

The Merced County Health Department said it will be conducting special H1N1 flu clinics for three consecutive Saturdays, beginning Dec. 4.

“H1N1 flu vaccine clinics are a top priority for our community and the Health Department,” said Public Health Director John Volanti in a news release. “By moving the public flu clinics to Saturdays, we will be able to begin various school-based flu vaccine clinics beginning in December, offering flu vaccine directly to middle school and high school-age children. The Health Department will continue to offer flu vaccine clinics as long as we have vaccine available.”

The Health Department will provide flu vaccine for any county resident who attends the Saturday clinics, but continues to emphasize the importance for the following groups to receive vaccination: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 (ages 6 months–24 years); Adults who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for flu-related complications.

The Health Department is advising people to call their primary health care provider first for a flu vaccination since local providers have begun receiving H1N1 vaccine. Children younger than 18 years of age must have permission from their parent/guardian to receive the vaccine. Individuals who have a fever or have received other live vaccines, such as flu mist or measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, in the past few weeks may not be eligible to receive a flu vaccine based on the health department’s guidelines for vaccine administration, the county’s news release said.

The administrative fee will be waived for the H1N1 flu vaccine at the H1N1 flu vaccine clinics for any individual who doesn’t have insurance coverage. Individuals with medical insurance should bring their insurance identification cards, but co-payments will be waived for the H1N1 flu vaccine.

Clinic hours and locations:Merced County FairgroundsPavilion Building900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, MercedSaturday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Los Banos FairgroundsO’Banion Auditorium403 F St, Los Banos, Saturday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Peggy Heller School, 201 Lakeview Dr., Atwater, Saturday, Dec. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.For more information on the H1N1 flu shots and special pandemic flu clinics, please call the Health Department:General flu and vaccine information, including clinic hours and locations:English — (209) 381-1180Spanish — (209) 381-1181Specific health-related questions on vaccine (209) 381-1020

More information on seasonal and pandemic H1N1 flu is also available on the county’s flu web site