Archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Influenza vaccine available locally

September 19, 2001

Although flu season may be several months away, it's not too early to prepare for it.

In fact, Tonganoxie's Dr. Philip Stevens began administering influenza vaccinations two weeks ago.

"We've given about 70 shots so far," Stevens said.

The physician said this year's vaccination protects against three strains of type A influenza the same three strains as last year's vaccine.

"This shot should give real good immunization against those," he said.

In addition, it protects against two type B strains.

Shortages that struck the nation last year apparently won't occur this year.

But vaccines won't be widely available until late October or November.

Stevens said he beat the rush.

"I ordered it in April, and I've also ordered for next year," he said.

At the Leavenworth County Health Department, Frankie Jackson is hoping to receive an initial shipment of vaccine by the end of October.

"I am hoping I will get 3,500 doses," said Jackson, administrative director at the department. "I will not get it all at the same time. I don't know when it is going to come."

Once she receives shipments, she said, she will schedule clinics.

People whose health is in jeopardy and people who are in contact with people whose health is in jeopardy should obtain flu vaccinations, she said.

"We are being told that is what we need to do to ask people for the first few clinics we have to let the high-risk individuals utilize the vaccines," Jackson said.

People are classified as high-risk if they:

Are 65 or older.

Have upper respiratory illness, regardless of their age.

Are health-care workers.

Have immune systems that are depressed or if they are in contact with that type of person.

Jackson said Medicare, Part B, and Medicaid will pay for vaccinations at health department clinics. Otherwise, the charge will be $15.

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