The state Department of Health today announced it will conduct statewide clinics from Nov. 20-22 to administer free H1N1 vaccine to individuals in the recommended target groups that have not had previous access to the vaccine.
In our area, a clinic for residents of Carbon and Luzerne counties will be held at the Kingston Armory, 280 Market St., Kingston. Residents of Lehigh, Northampton and Monroe Counties can go to a clinic at PA Expo, 501 Cetronia Rd., Allentown. Residents of Berks and Schuylkill counties can go to a clinic at the Reading State Office Building, 625 Cherry St., Room 401, Reading.
People in the recommended target groups must schedule an appointment time, day and location prior to the clinic in order to receive the H1N1 vaccine. This will help ensure that the correct type and amount of vaccine is available at each location. Clinic hours on Friday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 22 will be 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hours on Saturday, Nov. 21, will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The department asks that only individuals in the following groups attend the clinics:
Ÿ Individuals between the ages of 6 months and 24 years;
Ÿ Household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months;
Ÿ Pregnant women;
Ÿ Healthcare providers and emergency medical services personnel; and
Ÿ Individuals under 65 years of age with underlying health conditions, including asthma, diabetes, suppressed immune systems, heart disease, kidney disease, and neurocognitive and neuromuscular disorders.
Appointments can be made at www.H1N1inPA.com  under "What's Hot," 24 hours a day. Individuals without Internet access can call 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Lines are limited.
Anyone seeking vaccination should download an H1N1 vaccine consent form from www.h1n1inPA.com . Consent forms must be completed for each individual that has scheduled to be vaccinated. Preparing this form in advance will help the clinics more quickly register and vaccinate people.
As more vaccine becomes available, the department will schedule additional clinics throughout the state. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that eventually there will be enough vaccine for everyone who wants to receive it, but that may be several months away.
"Our goal is to get the H1N1 vaccine to as many people as possible who are at risk of suffering serious complications from the virus," said Deputy Secretary Michael Huff. "These public health clinics will help us do just that with the amount of vaccine that is currently available to us."