Deadline approaching to get flu shots

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 26, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Anyone considered at high risk for flu complications should get their flu shots before Jan. 10, said state health officials.

On that date, the Virginia Department of Health will relax restrictions on its limited supply of flu vaccine statewide, said Trina H. Lee, an agency spokeswoman.


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Approximately 25,000 doses of vaccine remain in state health departments, she said.

&uot;There is still a limited supply of flu vaccine,&uot; said State Health Commissioner Robert B. Stroube. &uot;If any vaccine is available after Jan. 10, the health department will expand the priority categories to include people over age 50 and household contacts of individuals in the high-risk categories.&uot;

The current restrictions that only allow people at high risk – including children, senior citizens and the chronically ill – came about after regulators pulled the supplies of a British vaccine manufacturer, creating a nationwide shortage in this country.

Despite the shortage, in Virginia, only 32 percent of adults in the high-risk category have gotten flu shots, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

People eligible to get flu shots before Jan. 10 include:

-Children, from 6 to 23 month old.

-People 65 and over.

-People with underlying chronic medical conditions.

-Nursing home and long-term care facility residents.

-Women pregnant during flu season.

-Healthcare workers who provide direct patient care.

People who want to get flu shots should call the Suffolk Health Department or their private physician.