Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System (CAVHCS) will conduct Drive -Thru Clinics in Dothan, Tuskegee and Montgomery as well as Columbus, Ga.this Saturday, October 31 from 9 am – until 2 pm. ]

However, the H1N1 vaccine will not be available.

“We have been providing the Seasonal Flu vaccine to veterans in all clinical settings since September 1,” said Ms. Laundrena LaPradd-Bradley, CAVHCS’ 2009 Flu Campaign Champion.

“So, we will be delivering the Seasonal Flu vaccine to all Veterans who attend our Drive -Thru clinics. However, we won’t be providing the H1N1 vaccine while supplies remain limited.”

After decades of trying to get as many Veterans and staff vaccinated as possible, the tendency might be to assume that everyone should be vaccinated with both the Seasonal Flu and H1N1 vaccines.

And while that is generally true, while supplies of the H1N1 vaccine remain limited, CAVHCS will not be providing the H1N1 vaccination to Veterans.

“We’ve been educating Veterans and staff on the benefits of getting the Seasonal Flu vaccine for decades,” said Dr. William Hill, CAVHCS Occupational Health. “And, those benefits to our immune systems remain crucial.”

While supplies are limited the issuance of H1N1 vaccine is provided in a targeted, prioritization of - pregnant women; persons who live with or provide care for infants aged under 6 months (e.g., parents, siblings, and daycare providers); and health care and emergency medical services personnel who have direct contact with patients or infectious material.

“We’re immunizing our health care personnel with the limited supply we have currently on hand – much like other hospitals who have received initial supplies of the H1N1 vaccine,” said Hill. “We will eventually be able to provide the vaccine to a widening group of Veterans, when supplies increase.”

For some Veterans the question is not when the H1N1 vaccine will be available, but when supplies of the H1N1 vaccine increase – will all Veterans need to be vaccinated?

“That question makes getting the Seasonal Flu vaccine that much more important,” said LaPradd-Bradley.

“In the short-term, while supplies increase, only a targeted group of Veterans will be able to receive the H1N1 vaccine.

However, the prioritization for Seasonal Flu and H1N1 are not the same.

So especially this year, Veterans should be sure to come in and get their Seasonal Flu shot. While they’re here for that shot, we’ll be able to review their records and advise them about future vaccination.”

Veterans can track the progress of the VA’s Pandemic Flu plan by visiting the VA’s Pandemic Flu website www.pandemicflu.va.gov. Veterans can also visit Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System’s website www.centralalabama.va.gov and subscribe to receive emailed updates.

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