CHHS Health Director says H1N1 could peak again

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"It wouldn’t be surprising to see another peak this year," said Marita Mike, health director at the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security. "When you look at flu outbreaks in the past, there were multiple peaks."

Since a vaccine became available in October, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services has administered more than 30,000 doses in the county with a population of almost one million people, said Mary Anderson, the department’s public information officer.

Early vaccination clinics set up by the county drew long lines where most people were turned away.

Short lines, ample vaccine doses and timing are incentives for individuals to get vaccinated now, health officials say.

The county offers vaccinations for free, and appointments can be made online or by telephone.

"This is a great time to get vaccinated," said Anderson. "No one is going to have to wait in line, unlike October and November."

Officials urge residents to get vaccinated before the next wave rolls around.

"The best time to get vaccinated is before everyone gets sick," Mike said. "We saw this flu start initially in the summer."

She said it takes time to allow a vaccine to come into complete effect. "It takes a couple of weeks for your immune system to catch up on the immunity [you get from a vaccination]."

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