Children need two doses to protect against H1N1

Children need two doses of vaccine to be fully protected from the 2009 H1N1 virus, state public health officials said this past week.

Department of Public Health and Human Services officials are encouraging parents, guardians, and physicians to be sure children aged six months through nine years are properly vaccinated.  “Most children who have already had one dose of vaccine will need a second dose,” said DPHHS Director Anna Whiting Sorrell.

She went on to add, “The second dose should be given 28 or more days after the first vaccination.”

Since April 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received over 250 reports of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated deaths among children caused by the H1N1 influenza.

The CDC estimates that over 1,100 deaths among children have probably occurred in the U.S.  Children younger than five years old have higher rates of hospitalization caused by the 2009 H1N1 influenza than any other age group, and school age children have the highest rates of infection.

The Montana Public Health Laboratory has confirmed 801 total cases of H1N1 infections in the state.  DPHHS reports that 173 of those cases resulted in hospitalizations and 17 in death.

One of those deaths was a child.

Vaccination is the best form of prevention of influenza and its complications.  A second (booster) dose of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine given 28 or more days after the first dose is needed to achieve full protection in children from six months through nine-years-old.
“There is plenty of vaccine available in Montana for every child who needs that second dose,” said Sorrell.  “We also have enough for anyone who hasn’t yet received their initial 2009 H1N1 vaccination.”

Local health departments throughout Montana have vaccine on hand to cover all residents, especially those with underlying health concerns, such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma.

If you have questions or need more information, contact the Pondera County Health Nurse, Cynthia Grubb, RN CLC at the health department, 809 Sunset Blvd. Suite 7, (406) 271-3247

Children should be vaccinated twice to achieve full protection from the 2009 H1N1 virus.