No flu shot shortage |

No flu shot shortage

Brandon Johnson

Last year, there were 30 million fewer flu vaccines available in America than public health officials said were needed.

The vaccine shortage created long lines and meant that only the most vulnerable — children, the elderly and pregnant women — got flu shots

This year, public health officials don’t expect a flu vaccine shortage.

“We expect to have enough vaccine for everyone this season, so we want the public to not be passive,” said Roberta Smith, coordinator of the Colorado Influenza and Pneumococcal Alert Coalition, CIPAC.

CIPAC is part of the Colo–rado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Smith said four companies have Food and Drug Administration approval to make flu vaccines this year, up from two last year. The increase in production means about 97 million doses of the vaccine will be available nationwide. Last year, there were just 60 million doses available.

But even with an ample supply, Smith said only people at high risk should be vaccinated before Oct. 24.

“That is just to ensure that the high-risk do get their flu shots,” Smith said.

High risk includes people older than 65, residents of long-term care facilities, children ages 6 months to 23 months and people who live with them, health care workers and people with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS.

After Oct. 24, Smith said everyone should get vaccinated.

“We are asking that everyone get their flu shot because it is a public health responsibility,” Smith said. “The more people that get them, the better.”

Flu season runs from Oct–ober to March, peaking around December.

In Craig, the Visiting Nurse Association will begin vaccination clinics for high-risk seniors today at Sunset Meadows II. VNA also has clinics for high-risk seniors scheduled for Oct. 13 in Maybell and Oct. 18 at Sunset Meadows I.

VNA will host clinics for high-risk patients of all ages at the VNA office on Friday and Oct. 17.

Carrie Godes, director of Community Care, said the VNA will start vaccinating everyone Oct. 28.

Godes encourages everyone, not just people at a high risk for complications, to get vaccinated.

“Everyone should go out and receive their immunization for the flu,” Godes said.

VNA has 1,300 doses of the vaccine for Moffat County.

Jacque Malley, a public health nurse with the VNA, said the vaccine takes one to two weeks to take effect. She also said anyone with egg allergies cannot be vaccinated.

Local grocery stores also will have vaccination clinics this fall.

City Market has a vaccination clinic scheduled for Oct. 11. Safeway also will hold a clinic, but it has not been scheduled yet.

Cindy Weston, pharmacy technician at City Market, said that at last year’s clinic, there was a long line and people were turned away because of the shortage.

“We were pretty busy last year,” Weston said.

Without a shortage, Weston expects to be busier this year.

For more about the VNA clinics, call 824-8233. For more about the City Market clinic, call the pharmacy at 824-4449.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or

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