Flu shot clinics cancelled nation-wide

Oct. 15, 2004, midnight | By Caitlin Garlow | 16 years, 3 months ago

High-risk cases will receive shot

The Blair flu shot clinic, originally scheduled for Nov. 3 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., was canceled along with most others across the nation, according to school nurse, Mazine Loften.

On Oct. 5, British authorities announced that the United States' main supplier, Chiron Corporation, would not ship approximately half of the expected flu shot supply due to contamination. The lack of the expected 46 to 48 million doses has caused the United States to encourage rationing the vaccine among high-risk patients, according to The Washington Post.

Aventis Pasteur is the only supplier of the flu shot this year so far, according to The Washington Post, and the corporation has already shipped half of its expected supply of 55.4 million doses to the United States. Approximately 14.2 million of these doses are being distributed immediately over the next six to eight weeks to high priority vaccine providers such as hospitals, private pediatricians and nursing homes, so that high-risk patients will receive the vaccine as soon as possible, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(C.D.C.) press release on Oct. 12.

Between 5 and 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu every year, according to the C.D.C. web site. In addition, approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 people die each year due to flu-related complications.

"High-risk" patients are children between 6 and 23 months, senior citizens, people with chronic lung and heart conditions and healthy individuals who are in close contact with those of high-risk, according to the C.D.C. web site. One option for healthy individuals is a product called FluMist, a nasal spray vaccine distributed by MedImmune in Gaithersburg. FluMist is recommended for healthy individuals between the ages of 5 and 49, according to the C.D.C. web site.

For more information about the flu and vaccines, visit the C.D.C. web site here.

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Caitlin Garlow. Caitlin is a second-semester senior at last. Her favorite things include making fun of her homeless sister and hunting down her clothes in other people's closets. More »

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