Starting next week in Georgia, health departments will begin offering flu shots to those at greatest risk from influenza, with South Carolina following suit later in the month. Georgia is putting a particular emphasis on protecting young children, the state's public health chief said.
Georgia and its health districts are ordering about 670,000 doses this year, about what it normally orders, said Stuart T. Brown, the director of the Georgia Division of Public Health.
"We don't anticipate this to be an unusual year," Dr. Brown said. "The bird influenza we've been reading about in the papers that is occurring over in Asia has not transformed into the version that is readily transmitted from human to human, so we don't anticipate that that's an issue this year."
About 280,000 doses will be in the Vaccine for Children program, and the state is emphasizing to those providers to get children ages 6 months to 23 months vaccinated, Dr. Brown said.
Because the vaccine is most effective if two doses are given a month apart, it is particularly important for parents to get the first flu shot soon so their children can be immunized again in November, before flu typically hits Georgia, he said.
The shots are $20, but Medicare and Medicaid cover them. The Richmond County health department is planning to give out 2,400 shots this flu season, said Jane Oglesby, the facility administrator.
Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flu shot clinics
- Maxim Health Systems will conduct on-site flu shot clinics at several locations, beginning with two Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at CVS Pharmacy, 2062 Whiskey Road in Aiken, and at Eckerd Drugs, 137 S. Main St. in Allendale. For information, go to www.findaflushot.com.
- On Monday, Richmond County Health Department will begin offering flu shots to the high-risk group from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 4 p.m. weekdays at 950 Laney Walker Blvd. For more information, call (706) 721-5800.
- The Richmond County Health Department south Augusta clinic on Windsor Spring Road will offer shots from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. For information, call (706) 790-0661.
- Columbia County Health Department will offer a clinic from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday-Friday in Building A at the Evans Government Center Complex. For information, call (706) 868-3330.
- Aiken County Health Department will begin offering shots from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 20 and 27 at the Aiken County Office Complex, 828 Richland Ave. For information, call (803) 642-1687.
- North Augusta Health Department will hold clinics from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 27 and Nov. 2 at 802 E. Martintown Road. For information, call (803) 278-3621.
Who should get a shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that those at highest risk from influenza be vaccinated first. Healthier and younger people should not seek a flu shot until Oct. 24. Among those considered high risk:
- People age 65 and older
- Pregnant women
- People living in long-term-care facilities
- Those ages 2-64 with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes
- Children age 6 months to 23 months
- Health care providers involved in direct patient care
- Those living with or providing care to children younger than 6 months old.