Swine flu shots available at local outlets

Local pharmacies this week began offering the H1N1 vaccine to the public, part of a state initiat


Local pharmacies this week began offering the H1N1 vaccine to the public, part of a state initiative to inoculate as many people as possible, officials said.

Capital Region pharmacies participating in the inoculation program include Rite Aid and Walgreens, said Claire Pospisil of the state Department of Health.

“We are encouraging everyone over the age of 6 months to get a H1N1 shot now that there is more vaccine available. We are expanding our distribution and allocation through pharmacies,” Pospisil said. She recommended people visit the pharmacy’s Web site for information; not every pharmacy mentioned is offering the vaccine.

Cheryl Slavinsky, spokeswoman for Rite Aid, said the company is already offering the H1N1 shot for the swine flu in stores in 16 states, including stores in New York, and hopes to soon expand it into stores in 15 other states. Rite Aid is offering the vaccine at stores at 1409 Altamont Ave. in Schenectady, in Northville, Fulton County, and Route 50 in Saratoga Springs.

Rite Aid will charge a $14 administrative fee for the shot, she said.

Price Chopper will also participate in the inoculation program but not for several more weeks, said a company spokeswoman.

Pospisil said the state initiative began several weeks ago when it lifted restrictions on who could obtain the H1N1 vaccine. “At the beginning of October we focused on getting the vaccine to the highest risk groups, but everyone is at risk of getting flu. Now that there is more vaccine available, we have opened the H1N1 vaccine to everyone, including senior citizens,” she said.

The state Department of Health is concerned that a third wave of the swine flu will hit New York. The first wave hit earlier in the year. The state is in the midst of a second wave, which has peaked with the number of people presenting symptoms declining steadily. There are no reports yet of the seasonal flu.

“We are worried about the third wave and getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid the swine flu,” Pospisil said. “If a medical provider has the vaccine for seasonal flu, that would be recommended as well.”

Supplies of the seasonal flu are currently limited, Pospisil said. “Pharmacies are only offering H1N1.”

People should not fear the H1N1 vaccine, Pospisil said. “People are reluctant to get the vaccine because they think it will make them sick. The flu will make you sick. The H1N1 vaccine has an excellent safety record. Most people feel a little soreness on the arm from the injection.”

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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