Pitkin County cuts some flu shot clinics; not enough vaccine | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County cuts some flu shot clinics; not enough vaccine

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

A vial that contained a dose of seasonal flu vaccine is seen on a table where flu shots were being administered in Boston Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009. The largest U.S. supplier of seasonal flu vaccines says it is running behind on shipping those vaccines_ partly because of the crunch to produce millions of doses of the swine flu vaccine. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

ASPEN – Pitkin County Community Health Services has been forced to cancel three upcoming flu shot clinics because it doesn’t have enough of the vaccine. Two other clinics will be held as planned.

The county held its first clinic to provide vaccinations for seasonal flu (influenza A and B) on Wednesday. The huge turnout used up a great deal of the county’s supply, according to Liz Stark, director of Community Health Services. In addition, the county has not yet received all of the doses it ordered.

The county has ordered 1,700 doses of seasonal flu vaccine and has received 1,200 so far, she said. Wednesday’s clinic drew 821 people.

Canceled clinics include one on Oct. 14 at Snowmass Village Town Hall, an Oct. 20 clinic at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen and an Oct. 21 clinic at Aspen Middle School.

Season flu shots will be available at the Midvalley Health Fair, 8:30-11:30 a.m. on Oct. 17, at the El Jebel Community Center (for adults only) and at the Nov. 6 Senior Health Fair, 8:30-10:30 a.m., at Aspen Valley Hospital (for seniors only).

A flu shot at the Midvalley Health Fair will cost $20.

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Community Health has been told it will receive more of the vaccine sometime between now and the end of November, Stark said.

“We hope to be able to hold another seasonal flu clinic, but we can’t schedule it until we have the vaccine,” she said.

Seasonal flu, a wintertime occurrence, has not yet hit the Aspen area. The first cases usually develop in late November or December.

The H1N1 flu is now circulating in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, but the county has not yet received vaccines to provide to the public for that strain of the flu, sometimes called “swine flu.” The first doses of H1N1 vaccine arrived this week, but they will go to front-line health-care providers, according to Stark.

Dates for H1N1 flu shot clinics for the public will be announced when Community Health has enough of the vaccine on hand to begin offering vaccinations. Priority groups to receive the H1N1 vaccine are pregnant women, followed by caregivers of children under 6 months of age, then children of 6 months to 5 years, those age 5 to 18 who have a chronic medical condition, and, finally, anyone in the 5-to-21 age group.