Flu vaccine available this year

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Unlike last year, when one stood a better chance of hitting the Lotto than they did finding someone with a supply of flu vaccine, local health officials say they should have plenty to go around this winter.

“We don’t anticipate any problems with supply,” said Suffolk Health Department Nursing Supervisor Nancy Cisco Monday.

Cisco said they have ordered approximately 2,300 doses of the vaccine, which are coming in to the department in regular shipments.

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They have already given nearly 700 of the shots.

The shots cost $28, but are free for those covered under Medicare Part B.

The vaccine may not be for everybody. Those with severe (life-threatening) allergies should consult with their doctor, those with allergies to eggs should avoid the shot and those who have had a severe reaction to the shot in the past should talk to their doctor before getting it. Those who already have the flu should wait until they are healthy to receive the vaccine, according to information in a health department handout.

In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, certain people should get vaccinated each year. They are either people who are at high risk of having serious flu complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious complications. People who should get vaccinated each year are:

1.) People at high risk for complications from the flu:

People 65 years and older

People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that house those with long-term illnesses

Adults and children 6 months and older with chronic heart or lung conditions, including asthma

Adults and children 6 months and older who needed regular medical care or were in a hospital during the previous year because of a metabolic disease (like diabetes), chronic kidney disease, or weakened immune system (including immune system problems caused by medicines or by infection with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV/AIDS])

Children 6 months to 18 years of age who are on long-term aspirin therapy. (Children given aspirin while they have influenza are at risk of Reye syndrome.)

Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season

All children 6 to 23 months of age

People with any condition that can compromise respiratory function or the handling of respiratory secretions (that is, a condition that makes it hard to breathe or swallow, such as brain injury or disease, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, or other nerve or muscle disorders.)

(Information for this article provided by the Centers for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/)