It's almost flu season - are health departments ready?
By: Tiffany Sisson
Widespread outbreaks, long lines, and no flu vaccine, those words best describe the cold facts facing Americans over the past six years. As we start the month of October, health departments are getting ready to fight flu season.
The promise being made by the companies who produce the vaccine, is that there will be enough for everyone who wants a flu vaccine. But until every promised dose is in hand, there's a bit of skepticism in some county health departments.
With shirt sleeves raised, arms pinched, and needles ready to prick, the battle to fight this season's flu virus has begun. "The longer you wait, the more you risk coming down with the flu," explained Carla Griffin, a registered nurse with the Jackson County Health Department.
The Jackson County Health Department starts the month of October with a flu clinic. "This year, for the first time, in the last few years, we don't seem to be having shortages or prioritizations of vaccines," said Griffin.
Last November, a sign that read 'Flu Clinic Closed" served as a road block for those wanting protection in Cape Girardeau County. No more vaccines shut down the clinic.
Charlotte Craig is the director of the Cape County Health Department, "Since the year 2000, there has been some kind of a bug, one kind of a rumble with the flu vaccine."
Craig is waiting until later this month to schedule a flu clinic, but, some are wanting shots now. "Public health, CDC (centers for disease control), physicians have educated the public enough now on the value of the flu shot. So, people want their flu shot as just about as early as possible," said Craig.
Cape County has 50 of the requested 4,500 doses. Is Craig concerned? "In a couple of weeks, if I haven't started getting them, yes, I will be," exclaimed Craig.
As for Jackson County Griffin said, "We had supplies come in from two different distributors, and that puts us in a pretty good situation, at least right now. "
Jackson County has about half of it's order. Both departments have been promised to have what they need to get through flu season by November. Mid October is when the CDC recommends getting a shot. That shot will take you through flu season.
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