The state Department of Health (DOH) will be holding free H1N1 vaccination clinics on the Big Island throughout the month of April. The clinics will be at two locations, one in Hilo and the other in Kona, and anyone who has not yet received the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine should make an appointment to get theirs.
West Hawaii residents can make an appointment to go to the Kona Health Center April 12, 16 and 28, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each of those days and get vaccinated. The Kona Health Center is at 79-1015 Haukapila St., Kealakekua.
In Hilo, the East Hawaii Public Health Nursing Office will hold H1N1 clinics April 12, 15, 19, 22, 26 and 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. each of those days. The East Hawaii Public Health Nursing Office is located at 75 Aupuni St., Ste 106, Hilo.
There is no cost for the vaccination; anyone younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Also, parents are reminded that children under 10 years old need two doses of the H1N1 vaccine.
As of March 31, 616,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine were allocated to Hawaii, and an estimated 570,000 doses had either shipped or were in transit to Hawaii.
Based on vaccinator reports, which continue to be received and processed, 294,241 people have been vaccinated in Hawaii. That number represents at least 23 percent of our state’s population, based on a 2008 Census Bureau estimate.
Of the 13 H1N1-related deaths that occurred in Hawaii, two were Big Island residents.
“It is still important for everyone in Hawaii to get an H1N1 flu vaccination. Complications from the flu can be very serious causing hospitalizations and deaths each year. Even a mild case of the flu often results in missed school days and lost work time,” said Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the state Department of Health. “Getting vaccinated protects you from the H1N1 flu virus and has the added benefit of indirectly protecting others around you, some of whom might be at risk for serious complications.”
H1N1 has been causing more disease recently in the Southeast on the Mainland. Several states are reporting regional or local activity. Hawaii has thus far been spared a second “wave” of H1N1 influenza activity and the DOH reminds the public that a key factor to fending off an uptick in flu activity is for people to get vaccinated.
“We want everyone in Hawaii County to know that it’s free and easy to get the H1N1 vaccine at our clinics,” said Dan Gushiken, Hawaii District Health Office health educator. “If you don’t have health insurance or if you have not been able to get the vaccine from your regular doctor, this is a great way to get maximum protection against the H1N1 flu.”
To schedule an appointment in Kona, or for more information about these clinics, call the Kona Health Center at 322-1500. In Hilo, call the East Hawaii Public Health Nursing Office at 974-6025.
Also, follow the Department of Health on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HIGov_Health.