County short on flu vaccine
Community Health Services Inc. in Pitkin County has been forced to prioritize high-risk groups for flu shots as a result of a nationwide shortage of the vaccine.Chiron Corp. announced Tuesday that no flu vaccine would be available for distribution for the 2004-05 influenza season.”This turn of events has greatly impacted Community Health Services Inc. since this company provides 87 percent of our vaccine,” said Yvonne Hernandez, public health director. “We will have 300 doses of children’s vaccine available this flu season that we hope to administer to only the highest risk populations.”Community Health has prioritized the high-risk groups for vaccinations as follows: children, 6-23 months of age; adults, 65 years or older; and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.The Colorado Department of Health must approve the use of the children’s flu vaccine for seniors. If it gives the go-ahead, Community Health will only vaccinate adults who are 65 or older with proof of ID and/or a Medicare/Medicaid card at the Senior Health Fair on Nov. 5. Healthy individuals are asked to delay or skip getting their flu shots this year so that agencies may give priority to high-risk populations. Everyone is reminded that there are other ways to prevent getting and spreading the flu. They include: covering your coughs and sneezes, frequent hand washing with soap and hot water, and staying home if you’re sick.For more information, call Community Health at 920-5426.