Ohio health director says H1N1 vaccine has gone to most at risk

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Ohio health director says H1N1 vaccine has gone to most at risk

Lancaster Eagle Gazette – Ohio residents deemed most at risk for the H1N1 virus should have been vaccinated by now, and vaccination efforts now are focusing on a larger at-risk population, the state health director said.

Of the roughly 1.5 million Ohioans who face the greatest risk of illness from the virus, most have received vaccinations, said Dr. Alvin Jackson, director of the Ohio Department of Health.

That group includes pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months old, health care and emergency medical personnel, children 6 months through 4 years old, and children 5 through 18 years old who have chronic medical conditions.

Ohio has had 2,547 confirmed flu-related hospitalizations and 30 deaths.

With those at greatest risk largely taken care of, Jackson said, the state is focusing on getting vaccine to 4 million more Ohioans, essentially everyone ages 5 through 24, whom the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also recommended be vaccinated. So far, the state has received 1.9 million doses of H1N1 vaccine from the CDC.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said he remains in contact with CDC to ensure Ohio receives the vaccine in a timely manner.

"I know there is a great deal of concern in the state," the Democrat said.

Brown organized a telephone conference call for reporters Thursday afternoon with Jackson and Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC.

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