Dallas, Tarrant Counties to Begin Swine Flu Vaccinations

Dallas and Tarrant counties will both begin offering the swine flu vaccine to some people on Friday, health officials announced Wednesday.

Tarrant County will begin to offer shots on Friday for pregnant women and high-risk children at the Thomas Coliseum in Halthom City. Appointments are not necessary. The doors open at 9 a.m., and the vaccinations begin at 10 a.m.

"And we'll proceed to offer them until 6 p.m. or we run out, whichever comes first," said Marc Flake, of the Tarrant County Health Department.

Flake said there will not be time to confirm if women are pregnant or if children have an ongoing medical condition, so it will be done on the honor system.

"We're confident that Tarrant County residents will realize this is a very vulnerable group of people, and they need to get the vaccine first," he said.

Tarrant County officials said they expect they will be able to offer swine flu vaccinations to more groups in the future.

In Dallas County, the vaccine will be available on Friday, Monday and Tuesday to uninsured children between the ages of six months and 18 years old with medical conditions. Beginning 8 a.m. Thursday, parents can call 214-819-6001 for an appointment at the North Stemmons Freeway clinic.

The county will also open a walk-in clinic on Nov. 4 for people in high-risk groups. Pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than six months old, people between the ages of six months and 24 years old and people with chronic medical conditions will be eligible to get the vaccine.

The Dallas County Health Department said it does not expect the limited number of doses it has to meet the public demand.

Dallas health officials said people in the priority groups should check their physician for the vaccine before coming to walk-in clinic. The county said more than 60,000 does of the vaccine had been distributed to medical providers in Dallas County.

The county clinic's vaccinations will only be available to Dallas County residents and are intended for those without insurance, health officials said.

So far, Dallas and Tarrant counties are the only ones that have mass vaccinations planned.

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