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Legislators Get the Point – an H1N1 Shot

Posted on Feb 03,2010
Filed Under Down In Richmond , Politics,

Photo by Flickr/europedistrict/4092914530/
Photo by Flickr/europedistrict/4092914530/

By Nicole Fisher and Samantha Downing
Capital News Service

Richmond, VA. - With the swine flu pandemic still looming, the Virginia Department of Health is giving state legislators vaccinations to prevent the spread of the virus.  Health officials are visiting the Capitol this week to administer free H1N1 vaccinations.  “This is to exercise our abilities to properly vaccinate our leadership, meaning government workers and our leadership, during a pandemic-type situation,” said Cheryle Rodriguez, a public information officer for the VDH.

More than 150 vaccinations were administered Monday. One of the recipients was Delegate Glenn Oder, R-Newport News.  “In the General Assembly Building, we operate in an environment where we are constantly shaking hands and meeting people and so forth,” Oder said.  “This is a great opportunity to vaccinate ourselves so that we can keep people from getting sick and from us actually distributing illnesses like viruses like this.”  Five vaccination locations are being set up at the Capitol. The Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, Crater (Petersburg and the surrounding counties) and Chickahominy (Hanover) health departments are each running a station.

While the H1N1 vaccinations at the Capitol are targeted to government officials, other resources are available for the general public. For example, the VDH has been holding a series of clinics with a focus on young adults.  On Jan. 14, which health officials declared as Young Adults Vaccination Day, the VDH held a clinic at Bryant and Stratton College and vaccinated 38 people. Radio station iPower 92 FM partnered with the Chesterfield County Health Department to reach out to young people at the college.  
Richmond-area health departments will pair up with Radio One stations in a series of similar events in which flu vaccinations will be offered during remote broadcasts.  “They’re ongoing all over the state in addition to regular health department opportunities,” said Joan Marable, H1N1 public relations coordinator for the Virginia Department of Health. “We’ve just been doing them anywhere and everywhere.”  

Similar clinics have been held at John Tyler Community College and Virginia State University. The VDH is also considering other college campuses and retail centers.  
When someone receives the vaccine from the health department, it is funded by tax money and there is no charge. Private health care providers may require a payment, but it’s often covered by health insurance, Marable said. Rodriguez said health officials are “encouraging everyone to get their H1N1 shot; it’s just a way to protect yourself, your family and your community.”

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