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(Please see related story "Saturday swine flu clinics canceled" for updated information.)

Roll up those sleeves.

Despite a shortage of vaccine reported throughout the state, mass vaccination clinics for swine flu will start this coming week in Carroll County.

According to county health department officials, the first three dates are for the priority groups recommended by the Centers of Disease Control. Those groups are:

* Pregnant women;

* Caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age;

* Children and young adults ages 6 months to 24 years; and

* Adults 25-64 with health conditions that place them at greater risk of medical complications from influenza.

The dates and locations for the clinics regarding these high-risk groups are:

* Tuesday, Nov. 10, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Carroll County Agricultural Center -- Shipley Arena, 706 Agricultural Center Drive, Westminster.

The remaining dates for priority groups are as follows (times are to be announced):

* Nov. 14, Parr's Ridge Elementary School, Mount Airy and North Carroll Middle School, Greenmount.

* Nov. 18, Manchester Activities Building, Manchester.

* Nov. 21, Century High School, Eldersburg, and a location to be announced

* Nov. 23 at Mount Airy Activities Building, Mount Airy

All clinics are subject to vaccine availability. Any changes will be posted on the Carroll County Health Department's Web site at www.carrollhealthdepartment.dhmh.md.gov and at the county's flu hotline, 410-876-3003.

The vaccine will be available in mist and shot forms, said Larry Leitch, Carroll County health officer. But the mist will be available in short supply and is intended more for the school vaccination clinics.

County schools info

Carroll County Public Schools is tracking the public schools that have an absentee rate of 10 percent or more, and posting the schools at the Web site, www.carroll k12.org/admin/commedia/h1n1.asp.

The school absentee information gives the level of attendance at schools that have 10 percent or more students absent.

Did you mist me?

Several considerations should be made when taking the FluMist nasal spray, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, because the nasal spray contains the live virus.

Who can receive the mist spray?

* Healthy people between ages 2 and 49 years old

Who cannot receive the mist spray?

* Pregnant women

* People who have complications from chronic heart disease, lung disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney failure, illnesses that weaken the immune system and medications that weaken the immune system

* Children or teens taking aspirin

* People with a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome after taking flu vaccines

* People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs

Shot or spray?

* Because it is a live virus, people who plan to receive the nasal mist spray for both the seasonal flu and H1N1 should wait one month between vaccinations.

* People who receive a shot for either the seasonal flu and/or the H1N1 vaccination do not have to wait in between.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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