H1N1 waning in Ky., but vaccination urged

While still widespread, the number of H1N1 cases in Kentucky is waning but public health officials are still urging people to get vaccinated.

The number of flu cases has steadily dropped over the past month, said Public Health Commissioner Dr. William Hacker. But, he said, "it's still important to recognize that while we are seeing fewer cases, it has not gone away."

If this flu follows the patterns of previous pandemics, he said, there will be at least one more wave of high activity.

State officials briefed the media about the state of the H1N1 virus on Thursday.

In some cases, especially in rural areas, the majority of people in high-risk groups have received vaccine, and health departments are now targeting the population as a whole, said Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, the state's epidemiologist.

So far the state has been allotted some 1.13 million doses of the vaccine. That's enough to cover about 26 percent of the population, he said.

Some 946,000 doses have been shipped to local health department. Local departments decide the best way to distribute the vaccine in their areas. So far 36 deaths in Kentucky have been linked to the H1N1 virus.

As the vaccine supply has become more widely distributed, the likelihood of your primary physician's office having the H1N1 vaccine has grown. Check there first.

Officials also encourage people, especially older than 65, to get a vaccine for the seasonal flu. Only 20 percent of Kentucky's supply of season flu vaccine is still available, said Gwenda Bond, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Health.

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