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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Flu vaccine should reach area on time

Thursday, September 2, 2004

SIKESTON - Shipping delays for this year's influenza vaccine should have little, if any, impact locally.

Delivery delays were announced by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention after a major producer of the vaccine advised it was holding 50 million doses due to some batches being contaminated at its factory.

The Scott County Health Department was originally slated to receive their shipment this month, but they are now expecting the vaccine in October, according to Kay Griffin, nursing supervisor for the department.

"We weren't to begin giving flu shots until November anyway," Griffin said. "That's been the plan all along. We are expecting the flu season to be a bit later this year - like December or January."

The flu can come as early as September, "but not this year," Griffin said. "We hear from CDC when we should begin giving flu shots in our area."

While the Scott County Health Department has been notified their shipment will arrive a bit later, "we should have plenty when it comes in," Griffin said. "I'm still optimistic. I think we're going to be fine."

The department administers around 3,000 vaccinations each year, according to Griffin, none of which will be the nasal spray version introduced for the first time last year.

"We will only do the injections," Griffin said, explaining "the cost is the main thing - it's still very expensive to us."

She said the cost for the nasal spray vaccine, which went for about $50 to $70 per dose last year, is probably high because it is still relatively new. Most insurance companies still do not cover the nasal version, nor is it covered by Medicaid or Medicare.

"And it's not recommended for everyone. There are age limits on it," Griffin added.

Michelle Terrell, operations officer for the Semo Health Network, said their network "is on schedule to go ahead as we always have with our flu shots."

Terrell said she is expecting to receive their shipment by the end of this month. "We ordered our flu shots back in March of this year," Terrell said. "We got our confirmation notice and everything. We haven't been notified otherwise that we would not be receiving our stock."

Terrell said the network plans to begin offering the vaccine "probably in October, our normal time."

The network typically administers around 1,800 shots, Terrell said, "but that's between all six locations."

The network, too will offer "injection only, no nasal," she said.

Paula Rost, director of nursing for the New Madrid County Health Department, said her department administers about 2,500 doses annually and is still offering only the shots.

"We contacted our supplier, it will probably be mid-October," she said regarding a delivery date. "We will wait to schedule our clinics until we actually get the vaccine."

Rost added, "People should not worry - we will get it, and hopefully it will not be later than they said."