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LA County Rationing Swine Flu Vaccine; High Risk Groups Get Priority

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Limited supplies of the in-demand H1N1 Swine Flu vaccine are forcing the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to be very strict in deciding who can get the preventative treatment at area clinics, reports the Daily Breeze. Thousands of people hoping to ward off the infectious virus have swarmed clinics and special vaccination events, however now individuals "not deemed at risk for swine flu are being asked to stay away from county-run vaccination clinics until more supplies become available."

Who is most at risk? "The high risk groups include pregnant women, young people 6 months to 24 years old, people living with or caring for infants, health care workers and people with respiratory or other chronic health conditions." Despite these guidelines, health workers and officials have noted that the many people flooding the clinics asking for the vaccine do not fall under those categories, and many are seeking the vaccination at public clinics despite having private health insurance.

LA County "has received just 280,000 doses of the vaccine, the majority of which are being doled out to private health insurers," and the county-operated clinics have "so far vaccinated 50,000 people." In Los Angeles County there is an estimated 5.5 million residents thought to belong to the high risk groups. Those seeking the vaccination at a County facility are asked to determine via the registration form if they qualify before even showing up. "Those who do not meet requirements will be asked to leave and come back later." That form is available online via the Department of Public Health.