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A few flu shots still available

Donna Gray

Flu shots are still available in Garfield County, but only for people at high risk for the disease.”There’s a small amount of vaccine left for people at high risk,” said public health nurse Mary Meisner. “We’re trying to get it out to people who need it.”She encourages people at risk – the elderly, the very young and the chronically ill – to get a flu shot. Meisner also said that she has been told by some elderly in the county to give their shots to children who need it. However, vaccine for children is different from adult vaccine.”We have vaccine for children,” she said, so seniors shouldn’t give it up.”People have been so good and so cooperative. We have the vaccine for (high risk people) here in Garfield County, so they shouldn’t worry about sacrificing this year.”While the county did not receive its full share of influenza vaccine this year, it got more doses than many other counties. In fact, the county received about three-quarters of its allocation of 3,500 doses, Meisner said. Meisner reported to the Garfield County commissioners Monday that her offices in Glenwood Springs and Rifle have given 2,000 flu shots recently. Another batch of flu vaccine is due in the United States in January. But Garfield County might not receive any if its present supply holds out, Meisner said. “As long as we have doses available and people coming in to get them we probably won’t receive any more vaccine,” she said. Some counties that did not receive enough vaccine will be first in line for the vaccine. Garfield County may contribute some of its own if there is vaccine left over after Meisner feels everyone who should get it has received a shot.Garfield County, unlike many other counties, including Denver, ordered its vaccine from Aventis-Pasteur, an American firm and one of two companies that manufacture flu vaccine. Chiron, based in Liverpool, England, won a multistate contract to provide vaccine for the United States this year but produced far less vaccine than was ordered because of contamination problems.In January, if the county receives more vaccine, and if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment rescind their regulations allowing only high-risk people to receive shots, they may be available to the public at large, Meisner said.But even in January it will not be too late to get a flu shot. Meisner pointed out that flu season lasts from November through April and usually brings two strains of flu: Type A usually hits early and type B later in the season, Meisner added.So far, Garfield County has had no reported laboratory-confirmed flu cases.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.comShots still availablePeople at risk still can call for an appointment to get a flu shot. The shots are available at the Glenwood Springs Public Health Office, 2014 Blake Ave., 945-6614, or Rifle Public Health Office, 902 Taughenbaugh Blvd. No. 104, 625-5200.Breakout: Who’s at risk for the flu:Those considered in the high-priority category include: All children 6-23 months old Pregnant women Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities Adults more than 65 years old Children 6 months to 18 years old on chronic aspirin therapy Health care workers and caregivers involved in direct patient care People 2-64 years old with chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease, metabolic disease, such as diabetes, asthma, anemia and other blood disorders, and weakened immune systems. People who have severe allergic reactions to hen’s eggs should not receive flu vaccines.


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