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Three new swine flu vaccine clinics open today in L.A. County

October 28, 2009 | 10:07 am

Three new H1N1 community vaccine clinics are scheduled to open today across Los Angeles County.

Clinics are scheduled from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. at El Camino College in Compton and the Pomona Fairplex and from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

Public health officials have opened more than two dozen clinics countywide since Friday, but today’s clinics are open later in an effort to reach those most at risk of infection, such as parents of young children and college students, according to Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, the county’s public health director.

Staff at county clinics distributed more than 8,000 doses of the vaccine Tuesday, Fielding said.

Public and private health providers locally must rely on the federal government to supply the vaccine. So far, of 3,000 private healthcare providers that ordered the H1N1 vaccine in L.A. County, 2,600 have received some doses, though fewer than expected, for a total of 271,000 doses delivered countywide, Fielding said.

He urged those not in “priority groups” considered most at risk of infection to let others get vaccinated first. Priority groups include pregnant women, people living with or caring for infants younger than 6 months, emergency medical services personnel and healthcare workers, children and young adults ages 6 months to 24 years, and people ages 25 to 64 with chronic medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease, asthma, diabetes or weakened immune systems.

Those who are not among the most at risk but show up at today’s clinics anyway may get turned away, Fielding said.

“We will have much more active and involved screening,” he said.

Fielding said it remained unclear this morning how many vaccines will be shipped to the county next week. Today, school nurses in New York City started vaccinating students at 125 elementary schools against H1N1.

L.A. County health officials have said they plan to distribute 40,000 vaccines through the schools, possibly more in coming weeks.

Parents had to sign consent forms agreeing to vaccinate their children. Fielding said he had approached the Los Angeles Unified School District this year about hosting similar clinics, but officials told him the logistics would be too difficult, especially ensuring that parents consented to vaccinating their children.

But Fielding said the county still plans to sponsor some public clinics at LAUSD schools if vaccine supplies last, although no dates or locations have been set.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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