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H1N1 Vaccine by Appointment Only at Charlottesville Health Department

By: Bianca Spinosa Email
By: Bianca Spinosa Email

December 2, 2009

Because there's a limited supply of the H1N1 vaccine, and it's being targeted to high-risk groups like pregnant women and preschool-age children, these clinics are not being advertised outside of preschools and daycare centers.

That means not every parent knows these H1N1 clinics are going on here in Charlottesville.

Twenty people an hour are being vaccinated against the H1N1 virus at the Charlottesville clinic held from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Health Department by appointment only. Most being vaccinated are toddlers and young children.

You have to be well-organized to know about these clinics. The reason for that is the limited supply of the vaccine and the fear too many people outside the high-risk groups will sign up for appointments.

The Health Department is alerting preschools and daycare centers via email when clinics will be held. That's how most parents are finding out.

"I got an email from our preschool teacher," says Kirsten Sugerman, who took her son, Harrison to the clinic to get the vaccine.

The Newsplex spoke with several directors of area preschools and daycare centers, and they say they passed the information along. But what about stay at home parents? What if a child isn't in preschool or doesn't go to daycare?

"There is some information on our website, and the newspapers, and a lot of people at least know to call the Health Department, and we tell them what's available, and they can come in and get the shot," says Alice Sorum, Immunization Coordinator at the Health Department.

But no press release was sent out, so not all families know about the clinic, or know to call the Health Department for updates.

The Virginia Discovery Museum caters to children and families, and several parents there didn't know about the clinic. Those with the Discovery Museum say they could get the word out to a diverse group.

"We reach a wide variety of people, and maybe types of people or families that may not have heard of it otherwise, because some people are homeschooled, so they aren't in the preschools or elementary schools, but they come here," says Michelle Staller with the Virginia Discovery Museum.

If you missed the clinic, you can still get your toddler vaccinated. You just have to call the Health Department and make an appointment. By mid-December, these clinics will be made completely public as more supplies come in.

The number to call to make an appointment is 434-972-6299. Right now, there's a waiting list for the vaccine because of the limited supply.

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