Homeless among first in Pierce Co. to receive swine flu vaccine

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by By DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on October 20, 2009 at 11:30 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 20 at 12:14 PM

TACOMA, Wash. - Pierce County's Health Department has decided children should receive most of the first batch of swine flu vaccine, but Tacoma's homeless received some of the initial doses.

Individual counties decide what members of the population considered "high risk" receive the first doses of the vaccine.

In King County, medical care providers are being given the county's first 21,000 vaccines.

Thurston County's Health Department is making their 2,400 doses available to health care providers, parents of newborns and children.

Pierce County received 16,000 vaccines. 200 were made available to the "Homeless Connect" event, an annual program at the Tacoma Dome.

Attendees are given services like dental exams and eyeglasses for free. About 100 of the vaccines were given to people considered in "high risk" populations, like parents of infants and young adults.

A health department spokesman said because of their living situations, and the lack of routine medical care, serving that population is what public health agencies do.

"To make sure people who don't have normal avenues have some way of receiving services," said John Britt.

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