High-risk individuals encouraged to be vaccinated before expansion next week
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold today announced that beginning Tuesday, Dec. 15, all Illinoisans will be eligible to receive an H1N1 flu vaccination.
In addition to local health departments and private physicians, Illinoisans will be able to go to many retail pharmacies for H1N1 flu vaccinations starting no later than Dec. 21, 2009.
“For the past two months, local health departments, hospitals and physicians have worked diligently to reach those considered most at-risk for serious H1N1 flu illness by holding walk-in, drive-up, school-based and appointment-only clinics,” Dr. Arnold said.
“With more vaccine arriving each week, we are now encouraging providers to begin offering H1N1 vaccine on December 15 to all Illinoisans who have not yet been vaccinated.”
From now until Dec. 15, providers who received H1N1 vaccine will continue to focus vaccination efforts exclusively on serving the needs of the priority population groups:
- health care and emergency medical service workers who provide direct patient care;
- pregnant women;
- people who live with or care for children less than six months of age;
- all people 6 months to 24 years;
- and people 25 to 64 years of age with chronic medical conditions.
Beginning Dec. 15, these individuals will continue to be eligible for vaccination, along with all other Illinoisans who are not in the risk groups.
Local providers will have flexibility to determine if it is necessary to continue prioritizing the vaccine for the at-risk populations, based on the needs in their local area.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) evaluated several factors before making the decision to lift restrictions on vaccine eligibility, including prior vaccine distribution, feedback from local health departments and discussions with other state and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health officials.
Pharmacies may charge a fee for administering the vaccine, typically between $12 and $22. This fee is covered by most health insurance.
People should bring their health insurance information with them to the pharmacy, and they may need to submit a receipt to their insurance company for reimbursement.
Those without health insurance can receive an H1N1 flu vaccination free of charge at all local health departments in Illinois.
For a list of public H1N1 vaccination sites and clinic times, as well as additional information on the 2009 H1N1 flu, log onto ready.illinois.gov.
For questions about the H1N1 flu, call the Illinois Flu Hotline at 866-848-2094 – translators are available.