Maricopa Co. opens H1N1 vaccine clinics to high-risk groups this weekend

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Public Health will begin opening H1N1 vaccine clinics this weekend to all residents who fall into the high-risk categories as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those categories are:

• Pregnant women;

• People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age;

• Health care and emergency medical services personnel;

• People between the ages of 6 months through 24 years of age;

• People from ages 25 through 64 years who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

"To prepare for a potential third wave of illness, it is important that we continue our efforts to vaccinate high-risk people for H1N1," said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County's Public Health Department. "As soon as we give our high-risk residents the ability to access vaccine, we are planning on opening up these sites for everyone in our community who want vaccine."

Vaccine locations will include Safeway Pharmacies, Wal-Mart, Apothecary Shops, Walgreens, Ace Hardware, Bashas', Fry's Pharmacies, Albertsons/Osco and others. A complete list of locations can be found at www.StopTheSpreadAZ.org or by calling the bilingual flu hotline at 1-877-764-2670.

Be advised that because Fry's, Safeway, Apothecary and Walgreens will be giving shots through their pharmacies, they can only vaccinate those aged 18 and over. AHCCCS patients at these pharmacies require a prescription.

In an effort to reach areas with limited retail sites, the city of Phoenix has partnered with the county to open three additional sites this weekend; Cesar Chavez Library, Travis Williams Human Resource Center and the Desert West Multi-Gen Center. For times and addresses, call the flu hotline.

For more information on the Novel H1N1 or seasonal flu in Maricopa County, visit www.StopTheSpreadAZ.org and click on Maricopa County.