Use common sense in light of vaccine shortage

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 16, 2004

September marked the beginning of flu season in Butler County and some people have become frightened about the recent news of flu vaccine shortage.

This is usually the time of year when many of us make appointments with their doctor for flu shots, protection against getting a bad case of the flu.

The Center for Disease Control was notified earlier this month by Chiron Corporation, which supplies America with the vaccination, that none of its influenza vaccine would be available for company distribution in the United States for the 2004-2005 flu season.

The company indicated that their license was suspended because of a possible bacterial contamination of some doses, which means the United States supply has been cut in half, according to CDC.

Because of a shortage in flu vaccines this season, CDC is recommending that certain people be given priority for getting the flu shot: children age six to 23 months, adults ages 65 years and older, all women who will be pregnant during the influenza season, nursing home residents, and some others groups.

On average five to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, reports the CDC. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and approximately 36,000 people die from flu.

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson said in a statement released Thursday, that he understands the anxious reactions of people wanting to know where they can obtain a vaccination, but because the state has seen no evidence that influenza is circulating, in Alabama, the situation is not urgent.

If possible, stay at home from work, school and running to the store when you’re sick. By doing this it may prevent someone else from catching your illness; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; and washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

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