Originally created 10/20/06

Flu shot supply will fill demand



AIKEN - Local residents shouldn't have problems getting a flu shot this year.

Aiken County is receiving 2,000 of South Carolina's supply of the vaccine, and health workers are distributing more than that in the 13 counties around Augusta.

Health officials say that they doubt there will be a shortage of the flu vaccine this year.

There's been "a phenomenal jump up in availability" when compared to shortages a couple of years ago, said Clair Boatwright, spokeswoman for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

A record 100 million doses of the flu shot will be delivered this year by four manufacturers, and the Centers for Disease Control predicts that three-quarters of those will be distributed by the end of October.

South Carolina health officials ordered about 275,000 of those doses, Ms. Boatwright said.

The agency has scheduled dozens of flu shot clinics around the state, including five in Aiken County beginning next week.

Unlike years past, Ms. Boatwright said, the state is not restricting the flu shots to those considered at risk.

Anyone who can pay the $25 fee - or has it covered under Medicare or Medicaid - can get vaccinated.

"This year, there's no expectation that there should be a problem for anyone who wants one," Ms. Boatwright said.

Georgia's also flush with the shots.

The East Central Health District received 2,210 flu shots Thursday to distribute to the 13 counties around Augusta and is expecting another, slightly smaller, shipment by Nov. 9, said Melba McNorrill, child health and immunization coordinator for the district.

The district had received and distributed 1,950 shots earlier, she said. Flu season in the area typically doesn't peak until after Christmas and in the past few years the district has given the shots through March, Mrs. McNorrill said.

"So we encourage the public to get their flu shot through December and January and even February," she said.

Although the maker of flu shots for children said this week that the vaccines for those 3 and younger would be delayed - sparking concerns that children won't be vaccinated in time to ward off the virus - health officials here aren't worried.

Danielle Wong Moores, spokeswoman for Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics, said her agency has already received one of two shipments of FluZone.

"It's just a temporary delay," she said. "It happens sometimes."

Staff Writer Tom Corwin contributed to this story.

Reach Sandi Martin at (803) 648-1395, ext. 111, or sandi.martin@augustachronicle.com.

AIKEN FLU CLINICS


- Tuesday at the University of South Carolina Aiken at 471 University Parkway in Aiken


- Nov. 15 at the Jackson Municipal Building at 106 Main St. in Jackson


- Nov. 16, 20 and 30 at the Aiken County Council building at 726 Richland Ave. W. in Aiken


- Nov. 27 at New Ellenton City Hall at 200 Main St. in New Ellenton


- Nov. 14, 21 at 802 E. Martintown Road, Suite 170 in North Augusta.

No appointments are necessary, and the cost is $25 or free for those with eligible coverage under Medicare and Medicaid.

Other flu clinics in South Carolina can be found by visiting the Web site, www.mrnc.org/fcf. DHEC officials urge residents using the site to contact the private clinics to confirm the information and prices. DHEC does not oversee the private clinics.




IN AUGUSTA


Richmond County Health Department received a small batch of shots and was going to begin giving them out during normal clinic hours today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., said county nurse manager Pat Coppett.

Source: South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Richmond County Health Department