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L.A. County to open swine flu clinics Friday for the uninsured

October 20, 2009 | 11:27 am
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will hold its first swine flu clinics Friday in Encino and Culver City intended for uninsured, high-risk residents, officials said.

The Balboa Sports Complex at 17015 Burbank Boulevard in Encino will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Veterans Memorial Auditorium at 4117 Overland Ave. in Culver City will receive patients from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The vaccination program will expand to 13 sites Saturday. A full list of H1N1 inoculation sites scheduled through early November is on the department's website. Those without access to the Internet can call 2-1-1 to find their nearest H1N1 clinic.

Health officer Jonathan Fielding said those with insurance or those not in the priority groups are not guaranteed inoculations at the L.A. County H1N1 clinics. L.A. County health officials are focusing on immunizing uninsured people most at risk for infection, including pregnant women, those from 6 months to 24 years old, and adults between the ages of 25 and 64 who have chronic health problems.

Because infants younger than 6 months cannot  be vaccinated for the H1N1 flu, parents and caregivers are also in the priority group.

Health departments in Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties have already begun distributing the swine flu vaccine. Ventura County clinics are reporting strong patient demand, said Sheila Murphy, a spokeswoman for the county Health Care Agency.

Health officials in San Bernardino County began offering the nasal mist version of the inoculation two weeks ago, and the Ventura County Health Care Agency  and the Riverside County Department of Public Health began last week.

Officials in San Bernardino and Ventura counties are focusing on offering the nasal mist version of the inoculation for children from 2 to 18 years old and for anyone from 2 to 48 who has contact with infants less than 6 months old. In Riverside County, officials are focusing on giving the vaccine first to children between the ages of 2 and 12.

Officials in Ventura and San Bernardino counties say their clinics are open to the general public. Riverside County authorities say those with health insurance should first ask their doctor for the swine flu shot.

Orange County plans to launch its own clinics but has not yet released a schedule, said Deanne Thompson, spokeswoman for the county’s Health Care Agency.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II

Related:

U.S., Mexico face shortage of H1N1 flu vaccine

Outbreaks of flu are 'way up' in L.A. County

Swine flu spreading rapidly in California, health officials say

FDA says don't buy swine flu drugs online

Swine flu news on the Times' L.A. Now blog

Flu news on the Times' Booster Shots blog

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