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Meridian deals with flu vaccine shortage

By Staff
Nov. 24, 2000
Meridian deals with flu vaccine shortage
By Sharon White/The Meridian Star
Although some private clinics and physicians in Meridian have managed to acquire the flu vaccine, health officials say Lauderdale County residents who usually turn to the State Department of Health for flu shots will have to wait.
Health department clinics in the 29 southernmost Mississippi counties are receiving 20,000 doses of influenza vaccine, which will be used to vaccinate people at "high risk" of flu complications.
Like all states, Mississippi continues to deal with a nationwide delay of the vaccine, said Dr. Ed Thompson, a state health officer in Jackson.
He said state and federal public health officials learned in June that manufacturers anticipated a delay in shipment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has guaranteed the production of up to nine million additional doses of vaccine to make up for shortfalls in production by those who normally produce the drug.
Mississippi's first shipments are being routed to the southern part of the state, Thompson said, because that is where early-season influenza has appeared first in recent years.
The remainder of the state will receive shipments as they become available, Thompson said.
The flu season typically begins in December and January, but can occur in late October and early November.
People considered at high risk for influenza complications include: anyone 65 years old and older; residents and employees of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities; anyone with chronic disorders of the pulmonary or cardiovascular systems, including asthma; anyone with chronic metabolic disease, kidney dysfunction, blood disorders or immunosuppression; children and teen-agers who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy; women who will be in the second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu season; those who work in hospitals and outpatient-care settings; those who provide home care to people at high risk for complications; and household members of people in high-risk groups.
For more information about the arrival of the vaccine in Mississippi, watch for updates in The Meridian Star or contact your local health department.
Sharon White is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at swhite@meridianstar.com.

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