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County doling out more swine flu vaccine

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The number of deaths and hospitalizations related to swine flu in San Mateo County has tapered, but health officials are still asking everyone to get vaccinated.

A slew of free clinics has been organized this month because the vaccine was in high demand in February. The clinics are for people older than 6 months who have not tested positive for the virus.

“I still encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Scott Morrow, chief health officer for San Mateo County. “High numbers of residents taking a precautionary measure to get themselves and their families vaccinated directly contributes to a milder flu season.”

Since the pandemic started spreading last year, the county has seen 10 H1N1-related deaths and 95 hospitalizations. After the pandemic was announced in April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported about 50 million hospitalizations across the nation within eight months. There have been about 10 million more since then.

For the past several months, reports in California have been sporadic, according to the CDC.

And while health officials are receiving reports that doctors have been running out of the vaccine, pharmacies, the county health office and free clinics have them if doctors have not already received more.

The virus is most threatening to children, pregnant mothers and anyone with underlying chronic medical conditions. Children under 10 years old should get two doses at least three weeks apart.

“The vaccine is the best form of prevention,” health system spokeswoman Robyn Thaw said.

However, county health officials have stopped giving influenza vaccines because they started giving them out earlier in the season than last year, according to the San Mateo Department of Health.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

H1N1 prevention

San Mateo County will host six more free swine flu vaccination clinics this month:

Daly City

Saturday, noon to 2 p.m.

Fernando Rivera Middle School, 1255 Southgate Ave.

Half Moon Bay

Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ted Adcock Community Center, 535 Kelly Ave.

South San Francisco

Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Joseph A. Fernekes Recreation Building, 781 Tennis Drive

Menlo Park

Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

St. Anthony’s Church, 3500 Middlefield Road

Pescadero

Thursday, March 25, 4 to 6 p.m.

Pescadero Community Church, Stage and North streets

East Palo Alto

Saturday, March 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

YMCA, 550 Bell St.

Source: San Mateo County Health System