10/21/04 — Wayne receives 1,390 flu shots

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Wayne receives 1,390 flu shots

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 21, 2004 2:03 PM

The Wayne County Health Department has been allocated 1,390 flu shot vaccines to be used for patients with the highest health risks.

A free flu clinic will be held Tuesday at the Health Department from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The state had announced last week that 70,000 doses of the coveted flu vaccine would be distributed to health departments across North Carolina. The vaccines' distribution is based on population and need, health officials say.

Josa Raynor-Vaughn, county program manager for communicable diseases, told the Board of Health on Wednesday that the demand continues to exceed the supply.

"We can't accommodate everybody," she said. "We're going to do our best."

She said the Health Department has met with Wayne Memorial Hospital, nursing homes, long-term health facilities and other such agencies to determine a fair way to divide up the vaccines.

"It's a very tough decision for us to make," she said. "Whatever we do get, we're going to have to sit down and consider what percentage we give to every agency."

This morning, she said that despite the Health Department's best efforts, "we will not be able to meet what they wanted."

Likewise, it is unlikely that there will be enough to accommodate Tuesday's flu clinic, she said.

"We're doing the very best we can," she said. "It's a very hard job."

Health Director James Roosen said the priority is to make sure those who most need the vaccine receive it. He said his office is actively canvassing to find those who fall into the high-risk category as determined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Included in the high-risk category are children 6 months to 23 months old, adults 65 and older, people 2-64 with underlying chronic medical conditions, women who will be pregnant during the influenza season, residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, children 6 months old to 18 years old on chronic aspirin therapy, child care workers who have contact with children under 6 months old.

No appointment is necessary for Tuesday's clinic. People are required to bring proof of identification and will be asked to sign a form verifying they are high risk.

There is no charge for the vaccine, but the Health Department will file claims with Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance.

Vaccination is not the only way to guard against the flu, though, say health officials.

Ms. Raynor-Vaughn said, "We have been trying to educate the public on what they can do to prevent the flu."

She said information has been distributed to schools, churches and larger agencies. And while it may not be the same as receiving the shot, there are simple precautions to take to stop the spreading of germs.