experience flu vaccine shortage
Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s Hospital did not receive the amount of flu vaccines they ordered this year. According to Theresa Uptmor, SMHC Clinics Coordinator, and Larry Barker, CVHC Clinics Coordinator, the shortage of immunizations means the ten satellite clinics administered by the hospitals will not be sponsoring their regular public flu clinics this year.
“We are encouraging people to obtain their flu shots at those locations that have quantities of the flu vaccine. We received a very small shipment this year. Our physicians have administered those vaccines to our long term care patients and our patients who fall into the very high risk category,” said Uptmor. “We’ve received a high volume of calls and we’re regrettably telling people to find another location to receive their shots. Hopefully, next year we’ll receive our full allotment. We regret not informing people of this earlier, but we’ve been trying unsuccessfully to locate additional vaccine. If we do receive a future shipment we will schedule flu clinics and publicize them widely.”
According to a recent Associated Press news article delayed vaccine shipments to health departments and doctor’s offices are hindering efforts to immunize people, whereas many grocery stores and pharmacies have enough to sponsor public flu clinics. Many health facilities, nationwide, are receiving only a portion of the vaccines that have been ordered.
“We have a handout at each of our clinics describing prevention and treatment suggestions,” said Uptmor. “Flu prevention includes covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, washing hands frequently, avoiding touching eyes, mouth and nose and not going to work or school if sick.”
According to the handout the onset of the flu is abrupt, whereas the common cold is more general. The flu is often accompanied by a fever and the common cold is not. Muscle and joint aches, headaches, lack of appetite and malaise are associated with the flu, but not usually with a cold. Cold symptoms can include stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat, but these symptoms are not often associated with the flu.
The handout also suggests that caring for the flu at home includes getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of liquids, and taking ibuprofen or Tylenol to help with fever and muscle aches. Aspirin should be avoided in children under the age of 18. Because it is a virus, antibiotics are not helpful. Flu symptoms can take as long as two weeks to completely go away.
For further information about the flu and immunizations visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov.