Put pressure on to make vaccines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Last Friday, the News-Herald reported an increased demand for the influenza vaccine. At that time, Suffolk Health Department Nursing Supervisor Nancy Cisco said the agency already reordered twice and would have to do so again. She acknowledged that media attention such as ours has encouraged people to seek out the shots. This is nice to know that the media are good for something other than reporting crime.

However, by Monday the agency had exhausted its supply.

What concerns us is that Cisco said officials from the state Division of Pharmaceuticals were uncertain when more vaccines would be available. This vagueness is more than a bit puzzling. Why could Virginia’s source for such things not have a more reassuring answer? Meanwhile, we hope that health departments here and everywhere else will persist in pressuring for more needed vaccines.

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Ultimately, it’s in the state’s best interest to supply such medication. The more people out sick with the flu, the less productivity is achieved.

Meanwhile, it’s up to individuals to protect themselves as best they can:

-Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing; dispose of the tissue immediately and wash hands thoroughly.

-Wash hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds.

-Rinse and dry hands with a disposable towel. Use towel to turn off the faucet.

-Stay home from work or school for five to seven days if you have flu-like symptoms.

-Refraining from visiting a nursing home if you have flu-like symptoms.

-If people are having difficulty finding available flu vaccine through their usual doctors, health officials suggest calling around to find where the vaccine is still available. You can also find information on flu vaccine providers at www.flushotsvirginia.org.