VNA gets 1,000 flu shots

Healthy people need not apply

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The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association should receive at least 1,000 flu vaccines this winter.

That's enough vaccinations to protect the elderly, new mothers and the chronically sick.

But healthy individuals won't be eligible for vaccinations, said Susan Bowler, public health nurse manager.

"The good news is we'll be able to expand the vaccinations," Bowler said.

The vaccinations should arrive today or Wednesday, Bowler said. Vaccinations will be made available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, starting Monday. Times have not been announced.

People seeking a vaccination must fill out a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-designed questionnaire at the VNA. Questionnaire results will determine who receives the vaccines.

The expanded vaccinations mean new parents can get vaccinated to protect their babies from the flu, Bowler said.

The nation is experiencing a flu vaccination shortage because the license of the United Kingdom's Chiron Corp., which usually provides half the United State's vaccinations, has been suspended for suspected contamination.

This flu season, only one Colorado resident has had a confirmed case of influenza, Bowler said. Doctors diagnosed an 80-year-old man from El Paso County with the flu. He had recently returned from a cruise.

No flu-like cases have been reported in Northwest Colorado, Bowler said. Flu season usually peaks here in late January or February.

Across the country, 17 states have reported sporadic flu activity.

The best thing people can do to hinder the spread of flu is stay home from work when they are sick, Bowler said.

She encouraged parents to keep their children home from school if they are sick.

Other health tips from Bowler included covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing, washing hands often, getting plenty of sleep and maintaining a healthy diet.

Flu symptoms include dry cough, fever and body aches.

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