Flu Vaccine Running Out - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/8/03

Flu Vaccine Running Out

It's frustrating to me that the CDC asked the media to encourage everybody to get a flu shot, insisting that this year there was plenty to go around, but no one anticipated this kind of response.

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As you have already heard, Lubbock is already running out, so the CDC says the concern now is to get what's left of the supply to the people who need it most. Those at highest risk are people over 65 years of age, people with chronic health problems, and infants 6 to 23 months-old.

"So what we have to do is look at where the vaccine is right now and redistribute it if we need to and encourage those highest risk people to get their vaccine," says Dr. Julie Gerberding, CDC Director.

The Flu Mist nasal spray is an option that's new this year. It costs about $50, and it is still available at the health department and various doctor's offices. But remember, Flu Mist is intended only for healthy people between the ages of 5 and 49 who live with healthy people in that age group.

You see, Flu Mist is made from the live virus, so a possible side effect is that you could end up with mild symptoms of the flu, and mild or not, you don't want to pass that on to an infant or anyone with a chronic health condition. That's why the CDC is recommending healthy people who qualify get the nasal spray instead of the shot, and leaving more of the flu shot available to little ones who can only take the vaccine by injection.

Unfortunately, the vaccine is not a perfect match against the strain of flu going around this year, but the CDC says that it's still the best that science has to offer, and it should at least reduce the symptoms if you get the flu.

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