Flu vaccine shortages shouldn’t affect county | VailDaily.com

Flu vaccine shortages shouldn’t affect county

Veronica Whitney
Celestia Whitmore, 95, of Great Falls, Mont., endures a jab of pain while getting a flu shot from LPN Sherry Florenchinger at the City-County Health Department in Great Falls, Mont., Monday, Oct. 18, 2004. Due to a shortage in the flu vaccine supply, only members of the public with special health concerns are being allowed to get the flu shot at the clinic. (AP Photo/Great Falls Tribune, Robin Loznak)

EAGLE COUNTY – Despite the national supply problem that has left some clinics in the country without any flu vaccines, Eagle County this month is starting its vaccination campaign for high priority patients.Eagle County, which ordered the vaccine from Aventis Pasteur, will be receiving its full order of 2,000 doses, said Kathleen Forinash, director of health and human services for the county.”That’s 800 doses more than what we ordered last year,” Forinsah said. “We anticipated that this would be a difficult flu season, so we decided to order almost twice the amount of vaccines.”The wider national shortage happened after British authorities shut down Chiron Corp., one of America’s leading suppliers of the vaccine, citing manufacturing problems at the company’s factory in England. That left America with about half its normal doses of the vaccine. In Summit County, some clinics were left with no flu vaccines.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging clinics to preserve supplies for high priority groups – persons over the age of 65, pregnant women, children ages 6 to 23 months and any person with chronic illnesses.”We are determining the quantities of flu vaccine available in Eagle County and working with other health-care providers on a plan to reach those persons who most need immunization against the flu,” said Jill Hunsaker, public health manager for Eagle County. “We have been working with other providers in the county to make a plan to reach those who need the vaccine the most.” Eagle County has an estimated 1,400 persons over the age of 65, and 1,000 children between the ages of 6 months and 23 months, Hunsaker said. Also, between 350 and 400 women will be pregnant during the flu season, which begins in October and can continue through the spring, she said. The Vail Valley Medical Center has also secured enough shots to provide vaccination to its health-care workers, said Sarah Moody, senior vice president of hospital operations. But while the shortage didn’t affect the hospital’s pediatric supply, supplies of adult vaccines were affected, Moody said.

Those who are healthy and between 5 and 49 years of age might opt for the FluMist, a nasal spray vaccine that can be purchased in pharmacies, Moody said. “It’s equally effective,” Moody said. “But the FluMist isn’t recommended for people who work with severely immuno-compromised individuals or pregnant women.”To avoid getting the flu, people should also use general good health habits, Moody said. “Get good rest, wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and, if you get the flu, stay at home to prevent others getting it,” she said. Each year, flu-related illnesses cause 36,000 deaths in the United States. The flu can produce an abrupt onset of fever, sore throat, aches, cough, headache and fatigue. It can also become a severe illness, and may result in serious complications leading to hospitalization or even death. Staff writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or vwhitney@vaildaily.com. Who should get the flu vaccine

• All children aged 6 months to 23 months• Adults aged 65 years and older • Persons aged 2 years to 64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions • All women who will be pregnant during flu season • Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities• Children aged 6 months to18 years on chronic aspirin therapy• Health-care workers involved in direct patient careSource: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.On the Web: http://www.cdc.gov/flu

=============================================== ==========================================Where to get the shotsThis month, Eagle County Health and Human Services will offer flu shots to high-risk patients at the following clinics: • Avon: Friday and Monday, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; 100 West Beaver Creek Blvd., 949-7026• Eagle: Friday and Monday from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Old Courthouse, 551 Broadway, 328-8840• El Jebel: Friday and Oct. 29, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Eagle County Community Center, 704-2760. The flu shots cost $15. Adults on Medicare and children on Medicaid will not be charged if they bring their cards. If available, flu shots will continue to be offered throughout the winter, during regular immunization clinic hours. For more information call 328-8819.===============================

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