Swine flu vaccine to be available in East Metro clinics

LAWRENCEVILLE - Swine flu vaccines will be available at five East Metro Health District clinics Saturday.

No appointment is necessary to receive the H1N1 nasal spray vaccine at clinics in Buford, Norcross and Lawrenceville, as well as Rockdale and Newton counties. The vaccines are available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"We understand that people are busy during the week and often find it difficult to come to one of our clinics during regular business hours," district spokeswoman Suleima Salgado said. "We hope our Saturday clinics will meet the needs of the community and make the vaccine available to those who are interested."

Salgado said health officials' primary focus is to distribute the vaccine to healthy children ages 2 to 4, but the nasal spray vaccine can be used by healthy people 2 to 49 and non-pregnant women. Those who have been immunized with a live virus in the past 30 days can not receive the H1N1 nasal spray, she said.

The vaccine is also available during the clinics' regular hours Mondays through Fridays. Additional Saturday clinic hours will be determined based on the availability of the vaccine and demand from the community, Salgado said.

They are free of charge, although officials ask patients to bring their Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance cards with them.

Also Wednesday, the state Department of Community Health commissioner announced a tool to help the public locate places to receive swine flu viruses.

To find a vaccine provider, go to www.health.state.ga.us/h1n1flu, click on the H1N1 Provider Locator button, enter your five-digit zip code and select your preferred distance to travel. Then click on "search for a provider."

The tool can provide locations within a two- to 30-mile radius, a press release said.

SideBar: Clinic info

For health department locations and directions visit www.eastmetrohealth.com/Maps/Mapstext.html.

The Gwinnett County clinics can be reached at the following numbers:

· Buford: 770-614-2401

· Lawrenceville: 770-339-4283

· Norcross: 770-638-5700