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Help Wanted At Vaccine Clinic

Regional hospital to provide free H1N1 vaccines.

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The largest vaccination campaign in American history is going on right now, as the L.A. County Department of Public Health and the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department mobilize against the H1N1 flu virus, also called 'swine flu.' To further these efforts, Providence Holy Cross will partner with the City of Los Angeles to issue free vaccinations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on November 15 at the Sunland Recreation Center.

 

Because of the event's large scale, the hospital is asking for volunteers from the community. Volunteers do not need any special training and will receive a free H1N1 vaccine and lunch for helping community members fill out forms and directing patients. The Recreation Center is located at 8651 Foothill Blvd, Sunland, and volunteers will need to arrive at 8 a.m. Those interested in helping should contact Maria Townsend at (818) 577-0726 or by email at maria.townsend@providence.org.

 

Because of limited supplies, the H1N1 vaccine is currently being targeted to groups at high risk. Such groups include pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and those with chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

 

Flu activity is currently widespread through 48 states, with the number of reported cases continuing to increase. An accurate picture of the total effect of H1N1 is difficult to achieve, because many of those infected with influenza do not seek treatment, and many who do seek care are not tested to determine which strain they have. The most recent CDC estimates attribute H1N1 Influenza to approximately 3,900 deaths and 98,000 hospitalizations. It is now believed that initial estimates resulted in a significant undercount of cases, to the extent that there may have been 2.7 hospitalizations for every one reported.

 

The CDC says vaccination is the single best defense against the flu virus, but simple sanitary steps are also important. To combat the spread of flu, the CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water or a disinfectant rub, avoiding touching the eyes or mouth, and avoiding close contact with those who are sick. People with flu-like symptoms should stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone to avoid infecting others.