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Swine flu vaccine now available to all

JACKSON — The 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) injectable and nasal mist vaccine is now available to the general public, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH). Both the injectable vaccine and the nasal mist vaccine are free at all county health departments. Some private providers and pharmacies also have the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine available.

So far, 807,300 swine flu doses have been allocated for Mississippi schools, county health departments and private providers. Of those doses, 619,900 are injectable vaccine and 187,400 are nasal mist vaccine. Individual county doses are based on population.

Over the past several months, MSDH and private providers throughout the state have been working to “adopt” schools in order to vaccinate Mississippi students. Currently, 443 schools have been adopted by MSDH, and 611 have been adopted by private healthcare providers. The vaccinations of the nearly 500,000 school-aged children in Mississippians are expected to take several weeks to complete.

Swine flu antiviral medications are available free of charge for uninsured and underinsured Mississippians who have been diagnosed with swine flu. These antivirals will only be available through a prescription from a medical doctor. MSDH has entered into agreements with selected pharmacies throughout the state to help distribute Tamiflu and Relenza from the state and federal stockpiles to patients who cannot otherwise afford them.

In order to receive these free medications, the patient must bring a prescription for the medication and a signed document from their healthcare provider indicating to which high risk group the patient belongs. The healthcare provider will refer patients who qualify to participating pharmacies.

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