A vaccine for novel H1N1 influenza, also known as swine flu, is expected to become available this fall. This vaccine will be voluntary which means that you will only get the vaccine if you choose to; it will not be required. The novel H1N1 vaccine will only protect you from novel H1N1 flu, not the seasonal flu. It is very important that you get the seasonal flu vaccine this year to protect you from the seasonal flu.
The novel H1N1 vaccine is expected to be initially available in limited quantities. Since there will not be enough for everybody right away, the vaccine will first be made available to groups of people who are at higher risk of disease or serious complications most at risk due to H1N1 influenza. These target groups include:
- pregnant women;
- people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age;
- healthcare and emergency medical services personnel who work directly with patients;
- children 6 months through 4 years of age; and,
- children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.
Once the demand for vaccine for these prioritized groups has been met and more vaccine becomes available we can begin vaccinating people outside of the target groups. Current studies show that the risk for infection among persons 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups. Many people who are over the age of 65 are less likely to get novel H1N1 than younger people. Once the vaccine supply and the demand for vaccine among the younger age groups has been met, then vaccine will be offered to people 65 years and older as well.
People who are interested in getting the novel H1N1 vaccine should contact their health care provider to find out if they are getting the vaccine. If your health care provider is not getting the vaccine,
[indicate your plan to vaccinate the people in your MDA. This can include vaccination by appointment, vaccination clinics you are planning, or referring people to other health care providers in your area. Provide information on where the clinic is, who it's for, who to contact, what they should bring, cost, etc.]
As the lead health [department/district] for your area, we are working closely with state and federal officials on distributing the novel H1N1 vaccine to Connecticut residents.
To learn about novel H1N1 influenza, visit the CT Flu Watch website at www.ct.gov/ctfluwatch.