Sebelius: 99% of feds are vaccinated against H1N1

Federal officials said Thursday that 99 percent of government workers are now vaccinated against the H1N1 flu virus, up from the official estimate of 84 percent last week.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she was “extremely pleased” that most federal workers are now infected with the H1N1 flu virus.

“The vaccine is currently available. Our preparedness effort has included ramping up vaccine production, continuing to deploy doses in response to local health and wellness outreach and acting swiftly on public health issues,” Sebelius said in a statement.

Among local and state health officials, reports Thursday indicated significant gains since last week. In Elgin, Ill., an eighth grade student has been diagnosed with the virus, after being sent home with a suspected flu-like illness. No schools were closed Thursday as a result of the child’s case.

The virus was reported at a daycare center in Orlando, Fla., and at a movie theater in St. Petersburg, Fla.

In North Carolina, they’re reporting a 42 percent flu vaccination rate among people ages 18 to 49, well above the 34 percent target number. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert Thursday urging that North Carolina keep its high-risk groups in mind as officials try to reach their goal.

“Today’s (Thursday) vaccines will be used to cover community targets and these include child care workers and people who work in care centers, schools, and day care or nursing homes,” the CDC alert said.

“Most of the eligible adults are age 50 or older. The elderly, those who have compromised immune systems, pregnant women, and those with chronic health conditions are most likely to be exposed to influenza-like illness, and may be more likely to become seriously ill with complications that can develop from influenza-like illness,” the alert said.

Washington-area health officials are still moving quickly to meet the high-risk population level and are expected to continue doing so through at least the end of the week. Health officials say it’s too early to know whether the outbreak of H1N1, or Swine Flu, is easing or accelerating.

Sebelius said in her statement that no one should get the vaccine without appropriate medical care or authority.

In Las Vegas, NV, at least seven people who reported having a flu-like illness were confirmed as having H1N1, becoming the first confirmed H1N1 infections in Nevada. All seven cases were confirmed through laboratory testing.

Additional information on the alert can be found here.

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