H1N1 flu vaccine supplies still limited in Garfield County
October 24, 2009
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Although limited supplies of H1N1 influenza vaccine in Garfield County are being reserved for health care providers, some nasal flu mist is being made available for healthy children, according to county health officials.
“We are waiting for more supplies of the mist as well,” Laurel Little, nurse manager for the Glenwood Springs office of the Garfield County Public Health Department, said Friday.
“Because it is a live virus, it does have limitations,” she said, in that it can only be given to people between 2 and 49 years of age who don’t have any chronic respiratory conditions.
Garfield County is also awaiting fresh supplies of seasonal flu vaccine, though limited supplies are available by appointment at public health offices in Glenwood Springs and Rifle, Little said.
Seasonal flu mist is more readily available at this point, she said.
“We will be getting more [seasonal flu] vaccines, we just don’t know when,” she said. “Once we do we will be advertising, and as we get larger amounts we will be rescheduling off-site clinics.”
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Supplies of seasonal flu vaccine have been running short in Colorado due to high demand with the early arrival of flu season this fall.
The separate H1N1 vaccine is also just now arriving in the state, and so far is not available to the general public locally. Seasonal flu vaccines will not protect against H1N1.
Once the H1N1 vaccine is available on a larger scale, Little said it will likely be prioritized first for health care providers, emergency responders, pregnant women, young children and households that have infants, Little said.
After that, priority will likely extend to younger ages first, and anyone with medical complications who are considered at risk.
Garfield County has seen six cases of people being hospitalized with the flu since the most recent outbreak. One pediatric death involving a 7-year-old Rifle girl was also flu-related, although an exact cause of death has yet to be determined.
The standard precautions to help prevent the spread of flu still apply, including staying home from work or school if someone is experiencing flu symptoms – primarily fever, cough and a sore throat. Anyone who has the flu should remain home until 24 hours after fever has subsided, according to public health officials, and should not immediately see a doctor unless they are at high risk or symptoms persist or worsen.
“We do encourage people to not run straight to the doctor if they think they have the flu,” Little said. But “if someone has a high-risk condition or they are having trouble kicking it on their own or have a very high fever and respiratory difficulties, by all means they should call their physician.”