Mayor declares Swine Flu week in The City 

The disease no one knew existed a year ago now has a whole week devoted to preventing it, thanks to mayoral decree.

Next week has been declared H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine and Education Week, and the San Francisco Department of Public Works is encouraging everyone in The City to be immunized against the disease that has hospitalized more than 100 people and killed at least 8 in San Francisco alone.

The disease, first detected in April of 2009, has similar symptoms and fatality rates to the common seasonal flu, but its early death toll caused concern that it may be much worse. Scientists scrambled over the summer to come up with a vaccine against the disease, and for months, the vaccine was only available on a limited basis – with healthcare workers, senior citizens, and young children, and caregivers the primary targets.

The medical community also ran into some hiccups when some of the original batches had to be recalled when they were found to have deteriorated in quality. Now, production of the vaccine has caught up with demand and there are enough vaccines to go around to anyone who wants one.

In a statement, San Francisco’s director of health Mitch Katz tried to calm fears about the safety and reliability of the vaccine.

“The vaccine is manufactured in the very same way as the seasonal flu vaccine. It has proven itself to be safe and effective all over the world. Getting the vaccine now will protect everyone from what could be the next flu wave. We’re making it easy to beat the wave,” he stated.

Katz will host a press conference Friday, alongside Board of Supervisors President David Chiu  and representatives of several pharmacies and the Red Cross, to encourage people to be inoculated.

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Katie Worth

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