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Free H1N1 Vaccinations to Be Offered to General Public

In recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week (Jan. 10-16), the V.I. Health Department will be offering free H1N1 virus immunizations to the entire territory starting Jan. 11.
Until now, limited supplies meant that vaccinations were not available to the general public. The mass vaccinations will now target everyone, not just priority groups, such as pregnant women, children, and those with chronic health conditions, according to a department release.
A note on the Flu.gov website states: “Supplies of the vaccines to protect against the 2009 H1N1 virus are increasing, and many places have opened up vaccination to anyone who wants it. This vaccine is the best way to protect against the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus. Those who have been patiently waiting to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine are now encouraged to get vaccinated.”
According to the website, 21,400 doses of the vaccine have been shipped to the U.S. Virgin Islands. To date there has been only one death in the territory attributed to H1N1, on St. Croix.
“In order to accommodate as many persons as possible, we decided to hold mass vaccinations for those who did not fall into the initial priority groups sanctioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Health Commissioner Julia Sheen said. “Vaccination is voluntary, but we recommend that everyone get the vaccine as it is the best protection against the H1N1 virus.”
According to Eunice Bedminster, the department’s public information officer, there was not an available venue St. Thomas large enough on to accommodate the general public for the first week, but there will be venues announced for upcoming weeks.
Residents can also get the vaccination from their own doctors; however, the CDC recognizes that a small administrative fee may be charged by non-public health service businesses.
The department has also scheduled vaccinations targeting first responders, private and parochial school students, children six months to five years old who attend daycare and Head Start Programs, and children under age 10, who already received the first dose of vaccine and must get a second dose.
First Responders will be allowed to show up at a scheduled mass vaccination that fits their work schedule, Sheen said according to the release.
Sheen said that addition schedules will be released later and residents can call (340) 773-1311, Ext. 3240 or 3280 for more information.

The mass vaccination schedule, by island, is as follows:

ST. CROIX
Jan. 11
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Charles Harwood Complex (RM 1016), for the general public
4:30 to 8 p.m., Charles Harwood Complex (evening clinic), for children six months to 5 years old in daycare and Head Start centers; and children under 10 years needing a second dose
Jan. 12
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., D.C. Canegata Multipurpose Recreational Center, for first responders and general public
Jan. 13
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunshine Mall, for the general public
Jan 14
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., UVI Great Hall, for first responders
Jan 16
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Charles Harwood Complex, for children six months to five years old in daycare and Head Start Program centers, and children under 10 years needing a second dose

ST. THOMAS
Note: There was not an available St. Thomas venue large enough to accommodate the general public for the first week, but there will be venues announced for the general public in upcoming weeks.
Jan 12
9 a.m. to 12 p.m., St. Peter and Paul School, for students and staff
Jan 13
9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Tutu Church of God Academy, for students and staff
Jan 13
5 to 8 p.m., Department of Health (DoH) clinic at Schneider Hospital (evening clinic), for children six months to five years old in daycare and Head Start Program centers, and children under 10 years needing a second dose
Jan 14
9 a.m. to 12 p.m., All Saints School, for students and staff
Jan 15
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., UVI, for first responders
Jan 16
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., DoH clinic at Schneider Hospital, for children six months to five years old in daycare and Head Start Programs, and children under 10 years needing a second dose

ST. JOHN
Jan 19
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Market Place, for first responders and general public
Jan 19
4:30 to 7 p.m., Morris F. de Castro Clinic, for the general public, for children six months to five years old in daycare and Head Start Program centers, and children under 10 years needing a second dose

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