11/15/12 — Health officials say fewer people are getting flu shots

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Health officials say fewer people are getting flu shots

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 15, 2012 1:46 PM

The Health Department has a good supply of flu vaccines still available.

The shortage is people coming to the clinic to get one.

At Wednesday's Board of Health meeting, the health director said several things might have contributed to the decline.

Davin Madden recalled several years ago, when H1N1 prompted the public to show up in droves for vaccinations.

"It turned out not to be the concern that it was at the time," he said. "I think people kind of lost the enthusiasm.

"The next year we had an abundance of vaccinations. We were on the list server trying to sell back flu vaccines. We order it six months in advance for our anticipated volumes."

That situation was prevalent at a lot of health departments, he added.

Now, with more outlets providing the flu vaccine, the number of people seeking the vaccination has dropped off.

Since September, the Health Department has vaccinated an estimated 848 county residents, Madden said.

Dr. Allan Harvin, board member, asked about the county's immunization rate. Madden said it is "pretty low," in the ballpark of 10.7 percent as of last month.

The question of holding a mass flu clinic is debatable, the health director said, since a good turnout is not guaranteed. The staff has, however, conducted vaccination clinics at area rest homes and assisted living facilities.

Board member Robert Cagle said it never hurts to issue a public reminder, especially since this is the beginning of flu season.

"It's just one of those things where there's a little ebb and flow," Madden said. "People don't want to take that preventive step."

The cost is relatively affordable, at $25, he said, and at this point the wait time is manageable.

Evelyn Coley, director of nursing, said the average turnaround time in the clinic is 10 minutes.

The clinic at the Health Department is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and appointments are not necessary, said Josa Raynor-Vaughn, communicable disease program manager.

"We have plenty on hand," she said. "We want them to come on in because we don't want anybody to come down with the flu, especially when we have plenty (vaccinations) available."