Wauwatosa Health Department officials expect long lines of people hoping to get a vaccine to protect against the H1N1 virus, also called the swine flu, during its clinic today from 3 to 6 p.m. at City Hall.
"We're asking that people be patient," Heath Officer Nancy Kreuser said. "There will probably be long waiting periods."
She cautions people to dress appropriately as the waiting line could extend outdoors for long periods of time.
Because large crowds are anticipated, city staff has set up a traffic flow plan. Drivers should enter the City Hall parking lot from Wauwatosa Avenue and exit onto North Avenue.
Kreuser also is asking the public to understand only certain population groups will qualify for the vaccine at this point. Those people who do not fall into the target groups will be turned away.
"Right now we're trying to protect the most vulnerable, and that seems to be the younger population," she said.
Vaccines will given to the following people: pregnant women; health-care workers with direct patient contact; children ages 6 months to 4 years old; children 5 to 18 with medical conditions that put them at high risk for flu-related complications; and people who care for infants 6 months and younger.
"These are the people that are being hit the hardest," she said.
Many seniors have asked why they are not yet eligible for the swine flu vaccine. The older population seems to not be at high risk for complications, possibly due to some form of contact and immunity built during their lifetimes, Kreuser sad.
But eventually their will be enough vaccine for every resident who wants a dose, she said. So far, manufacturing delays have resulted in limited supply, but the Health Department expects shipments of additional doses on a weekly basis.
For H1N1 clinic updates, call the city's flu message line at (414) 479-8938.
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