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In accordance with CDC recommendations, the Grayson County Health Department is asking healthy people to wait until November to get their flu shots due to the reduced supply of vaccine.
“We are not changing our schedule of public flu shot clinics, because we want priority groups to be vaccinated. However, we are asking people who are not in a priority group to wait until November, when we’ll be better able to know how our supplies of vaccine are holding out,” said Dr. Carolyn Fruthaler, Director of the Grayson County Health Department. “Waiting until November will not be dangerous, since influenza illness generally starts in December and doesn’t peak until about February.”
The CDC has designated the following groups as priority groups for vaccination:
· All children aged 6-23 months
· Adults aged 65 years or older
· Persons aged 2 – 64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions
· All women who will be pregnant during flu season
· Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities
· Children 6 months – 18 years of age on chronic aspirin therapy
· Health-care workers with direct patient care
· Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children aged less than 6 months
Persons who are not included in one of the priority groups above are asked to wait until November so that the Grayson County Health Department can be sure they have enough vaccine for them. Healthy persons ages 5 to 49 years old who are not pregnant can be vaccinated with the nasal flu vaccine, FluMist. The Health Department is expecting a shipment of FluMist to arrive soon and will notify the public when it is available.
The shut down of a major flu vaccine supplier has medical officials asking healthy Oklahomans to pass up a flu shot this year. Oklahoma lost 85-90% of its supply. The state has cancelled ten mass immunization clinics, more may soon be cancelled. Health officials say private doctors and clinics may have the shots in stock.