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Health district swamped with swine flu calls

The Spokane Regional Health District has been overwhelmed with calls from people seeking to make appointments for swine flu vaccines, the agency said this morning.

“We have had a massive volume of calls this morning and understand that many people may be discouraged if they were unable to get through,” the health district said in a news release.

The release noted that the call center will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day this week, or until appointments run out.

Only people who are in a high-risk group can make appointments at this time. They include:

• Pregnant women

• People who live with or care for infants younger than 6 months old

• Health care and emergency medical workers

• Anyone from 6 months to 24 years of age

In addition to appointments at the health district, three vaccination clinics will be offered for free for people in priority groups. That’s the same high-risk group served by the health district appointments, in addition to people ages 25 to 64 years of age who have underlying health conditions that put them at a higher risk of complications from the flu.

Those sessions are scheduled for:

Oct. 24: at the Central Spokane YMCA from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nov. 7: at the Spokane Valley YMCA from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nov. 14: at the North Spokane YMCA from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The health district expects to receive the injectable vaccine by the time those public clinics are scheduled, and will begin distributing it to health care providers.

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