Before you line up for the H1N1 vaccine...

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Nearly 4,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine have arrived at the Northeast Texas Public Health District. This means the most vulnerable public groups can finally get vaccinated.

"[I got the shot] and I didn't cry," said three-year-old Courtney Dotson.

Little Courtney said it didn't hurt at all. She and her sister were first in line as the first of thousands of H1N1 vaccines were given out at the Northeast Public Health District.

"We are excited," said Dr. Jonathan MacClements, FAAFP, Smith County Health authority for Northeast Texas Public Health District. "We can now finally provide to the public what we have promised. We haven't gotten all that we need, but this is a good start. This at least allows us to hit that target group of patients."

The priority groups include: pregnant women, children six months to four-years-old, those with high risk health conditions, health care workers, and anyone in close contact with infants.

But, East Texas health officials say check with your doctor first. Private doctors have received more shots than the public health district.

"These vaccines we are making available to those who can't get them with their primary doctors - those who may not have insurance or have difficulty affording the administration of the vaccine," said MacClements.

Patients must fill out health forms before they get the free vaccine. And, when asked how nurses will tell if a patient is high-risk, Dr. McClements says it's based on the honor system.

"Hopefully, we rely on the honesty and integrity of the patients," said MacClements. "We are not going to be asking for doctors notes."

For members of the public, Courtney, Kaitlyn, and their expecting mom, the day has come to protect themselves.

"People like my age do not want to go into the hospital," said Kaitlyn.

This is very important: vaccines will be given by appointment only.

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