The Grayson County Health Department has confirmed that it will receive sufficient influenza vaccine within the next week to supply its scheduled clinics, according to Dr. Carolyn Fruthaler, Director.
“We have heard reports of people overwhelming flu shot clinics elsewhere due to concern that they won’t be able to get a shot, so we want people to know that we are sure we will have enough vaccine to supply the clinics we have scheduled throughout October and into November. There is no need to rush to the first clinic we open next week. We know that people will come to our clinics who would normally get their shots from another provider, but even then, we are confident that we have enough vaccine to take care of the high risk population.”
Dr. Fruthaler emphasized that only people who are in one of the CDC’s designated “priority groups” should come for flu vaccine in October. 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
“People in the priority groups are either at high risk of severe complications from the flu, or they take care of high risk individuals and therefore need to keep from giving them influenza,” said Dr. Fruthaler. “For healthy people, influenza is a bad illness, it’s true. But for high risk people, influenza can be deadly, so we’re asking the healthy ones to wait until November and let us take care of the priority groups first.”
The Health Department has not yet received its supply of preservative-free vaccine for children under 2 years old. “The Department of State Health Services (formerly the Texas Department of Health) will send it to us as soon as they can, and we will let the public know when we have it,” said Dr. Fruthaler. “We will also notify the public when our supply of FluMist, the nasal spray flu vaccine for healthy people ages 5 to 49 years old, arrives.”
Flu shots will be free to Part B Medicare recipients who bring their Medicare cards and will cost $20 for others. Pneumococcal pneumonia shots (Pneumovax), usually given just once in a lifetime to those over 65 years old, will also be available and will be free for Medicare Part B recipients, $25 for others.