School-based swine flu vaccination clinics for students begin next week in Pinellas and are under way in Hillsborough. But where can adults on the priority list (such as pregnant women and parents of newborns) get their flu shots? Here are some answers.
I'm a pregnant woman. What vaccine do I need, and where can I get it?
Health department officials have been working to distribute the swine flu vaccine to private obstetrician/gynecologists, so your first call should be to your doctor's office. Pregnant women should receive the shot form of the vaccine, which contains killed virus. They should not get the nasal spray, which is made with a live, weakened virus.
I'm the parent of a newborn. What do I do to protect my baby?
Children under 6 months old are too young to receive the vaccine. Health officials want their caretakers to get it, which will help to protect the baby. But there isn't enough vaccine to meet the demand. Some pediatricians and family physicians have received the vaccine, so check with your doctor first. Hillsborough isn't going to turn away a parent who seeks the vaccine at one of its after-school clinics for elementary-age children. But health officials discourage adults from coming to a school clinic to get vaccinated. Health departments expect to receive more vaccine in the next two weeks.
How can I stay updated on changes in vaccine supplies and clinic locations?
A flu hotline (with real people answering the phone) is available during the workday through the Pinellas Health Department at (727) 824-6964. Hillsborough is opening a call-in center next week at (813) 307-8073.
Health care providers can register to be H1N1 vaccine providers at www.flshots.com.
Also, check back with the St. Petersburg Times and tampabay.com. We'll update you as we get more information.