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County doles out H1N1 flu vaccine, Island Rite Aid offers waiting list

The H1N1 flu vaccine is available locally at the North-end Rite Aid on Mercer Island this week, although people interested in getting a vaccine will need to put their name on a waiting list.

Rite Aid, located at 323 78th Ave. S.E. on the Island, can be reached via telephone at (206) 236-0776. The Rite Aid at the South-end shopping center will not be giving out vaccinations.

The H1N1 vaccine is available to: pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than six months old, young people between the ages of six months and 24 years old, people ages 25 through 64 years old who are at a higher risk for severe H1N1 because of chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes or brain, nervous system and weakened immune systems, and health care and emergency medical service personnel with direct patient contact.

Pregnant women, babies and children younger than 2 years old and people through 64 years old with chronic health conditions will get the injectable flu vaccine, while healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49 who are not pregnant can receive the nasal spray vaccine.

According to Seattle-King County Public Health, the price for the vaccine will vary by pharmacy, but should typically range between $12 and $22. If a person has health insurance, the fee will likely be covered.

The vaccine will be delivered by the health care community with ongoing distribution to health care workers and patients who are at high risk.

Pharmacies will also be distributing the vaccine for people who are at high risk. Community vaccination clinics and Public Health clinics will distribute the vaccine to people who are at a high risk for H1N1, including those who do not have health care providers or health insurance.

Schools, colleges and universities are also distributing vaccines to the student population through student health centers.

More information on the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine, including a list of pharmacies in the area which will be offering vaccines, can be found at www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/preparedness/pandemicflu/swineflu/pharmacies.aspx.

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