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Health Officer: H1N1 Vaccine Plans Remain Murky

Cranford is still waiting for solid H1N1 vaccine information.

Cranford’s health officer expects to receive state-prescribed money from a federal grant to help offset the cost of H1N1 or “swine flu” vaccinations this season; but he’s not sure how much or when he will get it.

Health Officer Warren Hehl says the state will dole out federal grant money to each municipality, Cranford included. While the state funding will pay for much of the immunization process: nurses, publicity, physician costs, and more; additional funding may pay for the vaccine itself.

The seasonal flu vaccine arrived at the health office this week. Town officials approved a vaccine fee increase to offset administrative and incidental costs of administering the seasonal vaccine. Even with a $5 fee in place during the last flu season, the township lost money when it faced a larger demand of the vaccine by non-Medicare eligible residents. This season, the seasonal flu fee has been raised to $10. The Pathmark on South Street offers it for about $30.

Seasonal flu vaccine, consisting of a single shot, will be offered in October. The swine flu vaccine, consisting of a series of two shots over a set time, is supposed to arrive as early as mid-October.

“I hang my head with the seasonal flu, but there are too many questions about the swine flu vaccine,” said Hehl. “They’ve promised us some things but we haven’t even found out that [the vaccine] is past the clinical FDA trials. If it comes late… well, if it comes on time we can start planning then.”

Federal guidelines recommend that all school children, pregnant women, and those with health issues receive the swine flu vaccine.

Cranford residents are eligible to receive vaccine doses with proper identification. Check back for more information regarding clinic sites and times.

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