Health district confirms shortage of flu vaccine
Last Tuesday, the British government suspended the license and flu vaccine shipments of Chiron Corporation.
The pharmaceutical manufacturer supplies millions of doses of flu vaccine to the United States.
"What this means locally is that those medical providers who ordered flu vaccine from Chiron will not be getting that vaccine, limiting the flu vaccination to only high risk individuals," explained Dave Cunningham from the Southeastern Utah Health District..
The local health department usually gives the flu vaccine to more than 10 percent of the total population.
But with the limited conditions placed on the current supply, the public health district will be able to vaccinate only a fraction of the typical percentage of the local population.
"What we ask, this year, is that the healthier population waits to get shots for the time being and that will allow the higher risk population to receive the few doses available," said Cunningham.
It appears that the supplies for the general population in Carbon County will not change during the 2004 flu season.
"It is unlikely that we will be able to get more vaccine," explained Cunningham.
The United States Center for Disease Control defines high-risk individuals as.
People 65 years of age and older
People working or living in nursing homes and care facilities housing individuals with long-term illnesses.
Adults and children six months or older with chronic heart or lung conditions.
Adults and children six months or older who needed regular medical care or were hospitalized in the last year with metabolic diseases, chronic kidney disorders or weakened immune systems.
Children six months to 18 years of age on aspirin therapy
Pregnant women and all children six to 23 months old.
Caregivers of people who are at high risk for complications.
Children and adults who live with people in a high-risk group.
Doctors, nurses, hospital employees and emergency response personnel.
People working in assisted living and other residences for people in high-risk groups.
"We ask that anyone who does not fall into the above categories to not show up at the health department clinics for flu shots until further notice. If they don't fit into the groups they will be denied services," stressed Cunningham.
At present, no vaccines are available to Carbon County residents from the health department.
"As of Friday, we have still not received our expected and limited shipment of flu, vaccine so no flu vaccination clinic can be scheduled at this time. Please call us before coming into the health department for flu shots," concluded Cunningham.