According to the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department, a 12-year-old child has died as a result of the H1N1 influenza.
The child, who is a Memphis resident, died at a local hospital. Given this, public health officials are concerned regarding the spread of the virus in Shelby County and are asking residents to get vaccinated immediately.
Helen Morrow, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, announced that this is the seventh known influenza-associated death in Shelby County. This comes on the heels of another death announced yesterday of a DeSoto County teenager who died last week.
“At this particular difficult time, we want to convey our condolences to the family of this child,” Morrow said. “This death is a somber reminder of the disproportionate impact that H1N1 has on young individuals.”
It is also a reminder that the pandemic is not behind us, added Yvonne Madlock, Director of the Health Department. Last month, the World Health Organization announced that the H1N1 flu pandemic may continue until 2011, which signals that the H1N1 virus has the potential to re-emerge this winter as a stronger strain. Therefore, the public needs to remain vigilant and get the vaccine.
“We have an ample supply of vaccine and we want everyone in our community to be protected. Since vaccine arrived at the Health Department in October, we have been encouraging our most vulnerable citizens and our entire population to receive the vaccine and that continues to be our message. Get vaccinated. It is the only sure way to protect yourself against this virus,” Madlock said.
Morrow agrees: “Given that the H1N1 virus is the predominant flu strain circulating, we will continue to remind our citizens that vaccine can protect against this H1N1 flu. We will continue to beat this drum until everyone understands the importance of this.”
In particular, Madlock and Morrow emphasized that children under the age of 10 still require two doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine in order to be fully immunized against the virus.
“It is especially important that children younger than 10 years old who have only received one dose of vaccine thus far, receive a second dose,” Morrow added.
According to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all children between the ages of six months and nine years need two doses of H1N1 vaccine in order to be fully protected against the virus. These doses should be spaced at least four weeks apart.
For additional protection, Morrow also recommended the use of basic preventive methods including washing hands frequently or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding close contact with those who are sick. If you are ill, stay home until you are well.
In addition, the Health Department is spearheading vaccinations at a number of area schools within Memphis City Schools, Shelby County Schools, and parochial and independent school systems. For parents who want children to receive the vaccine at the school where they are enrolled, the Health Department strongly encourages those parents to return consent forms that have been distributed by the school.
In addition, the Health Department is offering the vaccine free of charge to anyone at the following Health Department-operated public health clinics:
• Collierville Clinic, 167 Washington. Clinic Hours: 8-11 a.m. & 12:30-3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. Phone: 901.854.6775.
• Galloway Clinic, 477 N. Manassas. Clinic Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Phone: 901.522.8268.
• Hickory Hill Clinic, 6590 Kirby Center Cove. Clinic Hours: 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday & on 2nd and 4th Saturdays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Phone: 901.365.1045.
• Immunization Clinic, 814 Jefferson. Clinic Hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday. Phone: 901.544.7711.
• Millington Clinic, 8225 Highway 51. Clinic Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Phone: 901.873.4433.
• Raleigh Clinic, 3040 Covington Pike. Clinic Hours: 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Phone: 901.386.2060.
• Shelby Crossing Clinic, 6170 Macon Road. Clinic Hours: 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Phone: 901.372.7581.
• Southland Mall Clinic, 1278 Southland Mall, Shelby Drive/Highway 51. Clinic Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday & on 2nd and 4th Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2nd and 4th Mondays from 5-6:30 p.m. Phone: 901.346.0081.
• Department of Human Services, 3230 Jackson. Clinic Hours: 8-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays only. Phone: 901.320.7471.
The Health Department is also offering the vaccine at the following Walmart stores at no charge from 1-8 p.m. daily through Sunday, February 28:
•Walmart Supercenter located at 8400 Highway 64 in Bartlett.
•Walmart Supercenter located at 560 West Poplar Avenue in Collierville.
•Walmart Supercenter located at 577 North Germantown Parkway in Cordova.
•Walmart Supercenter located at 5255 Elvis Presley Blvd in Memphis.
•Neighborhood Walmart Store located at 2856 Hickory Hill Road in Memphis.
•Neighborhood Walmart Store
located at 6520 Memphis-Arlington Road in Memphis.
•Neighborhood Walmart Store located at 6990 East Shelby Drive in Memphis.
•Walmart Supercenter located at 8445 US Highway 51 North in Millington.
•Walmart located at 3950 Austin Peay Highway in Memphis.
•Walmart Supercenter located at 7525 Winchester Road in Memphis.
For more information about H1N1 vaccine availability, go to www.shelbycountytn.gov
. Citizens can also call the Health Department’s H1N1 hotline from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at 901.379.H1N1.http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/dpp/news/lo ... -swine-flu