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Permanent link  H1N1 vaccination primer for Illinois dentists

10/13/2009

With several high profile outbreaks of the H1N1 flu virus already being reported in Illinois, dentists may be wondering how to get vaccinated.

While the seasonal flu vaccine is readily available at doctors' offices, clinics and pharmacies, it does not protect against H1N1. The special H1N1 vaccine is, in fact, in short supply nationwide at this time.

Late last week, Illinois received its first shipment of the H1N1 vaccine. These first doses are being distributed to local departments of public health, so that those in the priority class can be vaccinated first. The Centers for Disease Control consider the following five groups priority for H1N1 vaccination:

  • Pregnant women
  • People with infants younger than 6 months of age
  • Children 6 months to 4 years of age
  • Children ages 5 years to 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions
  • Health care personnel
Practicing dentists may be considered under the fifth category, "health care personnel." Although dentistry is not explicitly listed in the guidelines, the CDC confirmed to the Chicago Dental Society that dentists may request priority vaccination through their county or city department of health. The decision to offer H1N1 priority vaccination to dentists is ultimately up to to the discretion of the department of health, however.

The Illinois Department of Public Health's H1N1 team expects H1N1 vaccine supplies to trickle in over the coming weeks. Eventually, the vaccine should be available at all doctor's offices, clinics and pharmacies that registered to receive the vaccine in August.

In the meantime, if you would like to be considered for priority vaccination, please contact your department of public health for more information.

Chicago Department of Public Health
The CDPH has a flyer on clinics that will be offering the vaccine through November 19; for all other questions, please call 311.

Cook County Department of Public Health
(708) 492-2000

DuPage County Health Department
(630) 682-7400

Lake County Health Department
(847) 377-8000

For Illinois dentists outside the metro area, you can locate your county department of health through the Illinois Department of Public Health.

For dentists outside of Illinois, the federal government maintains a seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccine locator.

The American Dental Association also has a resource for dentists on H1N1.

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h1n1 , public health , vaccination ,