H1N1 Swine Flu vaccine and clinic update

Recently I picked up an intriguing bit of information listening to National Public Radio. NYS pharmacies would now be permitted to administer the H1N1 vaccine, which was in such short supply in the fall during the first outbreak of the swine flu.

I checked with Suzanne Fujita at the Shelter Island Heights Pharmacy on Sunday. She said the pharmacy had no plans as of now to participate in any vaccination program but recommended I contact our local doctors.

• Dr. Peter Kelt: His office reports the vaccine is available and can be administered during a regular office visit. “Everyone should come in [for a shot],” Dr. Kelt said through his medical secretary. Not just seniors.

Drs. Christopher and Kathleen Marshall: Their office will administer the vaccine during a regular office visit if requested.

The question of Medicare payment for the vaccine came up. To make sure payment is available, I called Medicare and was told unequivocally that both the vaccine and its administration were covered.

I also learned that the Suffolk County Department of Health will conduct a free, walk-in flu clinic on Shelter Island at the Senior Activity Center on February 4 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. In addition to the swine flu vaccine, the clinic will also administer seasonal flu shots.

For more information call Karin Bennett (749-0291) or Dana Hallman (749-1059).

Protect yourself against a possible second outbreak of the flu in late winter or early spring. Get the vaccine from your local health care provider or at the clinic. And wash your hands.