Vaccinations finally here;flu shots begin Monday

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 27, 2000

The wait is finally over. Influenza vaccinations have arrived inLincoln County.

“We are just now receiving the vaccine, and we’ll be able tostart giving flu shots Monday,” said Nelline Reed, officer managerat the Lincoln County Health Department.

Health officials, along with local residents, are thankful thevaccinations, which usually arrive in October, have reached thearea at last.

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“I know the public has been in a panic because it’s getting solate,” said Reed. “We’ve had over 100 calls a day from peopleasking when the flu shots would come in.”

The delay, which affected the entire nation, stemmed frommanufacturing problems in the production of one of the influenzastrains. The main flu vaccine supplier chose to wait longer to makethe vaccines this year in order to create a more effectivestrain.

Health officials believe the delay will not be detrimental toarea residents, because the worst part of flu season usually doesnot begin until January. There is still adequate time to getvaccinated.

“It usually takes around two to three weeks after the shot tobecome protected,” said Becky Calcote, the county coordinate nurseat the health department.

The approximately 1,000 flu vaccines shipped to the healthdepartment will be administered to high-risk residents first so thevaccine can take affect as soon as possible in case flu seasonarrives early, said health officials.

Those considered in the high-risk category include elderly,chronically ill, pregnant women and medical personnel who work withhigh-risk patients.

People who do not fall into that category are encouraged to waituntil high-risk patients have been vaccinated.

Health officials do not foresee the shortage that was predictedtwo months ago, therefore, anyone wishing to be vaccinated will beable to this year.

“We feel like if we get low, we’ll be able to get more,” saidReed. “There should be enough to cover everyone, even the low-riskpeople.”

Vaccines will be available through Feb. 25, 2001, or as long asthey are available. Many local doctor’s offices have also receivedsmall shipments of the vaccine.