Archive for Thursday, November 3, 2005

No replay of flu shot shortages foreseen

November 3, 2005

Johnson County residents looking for protection against the coming flu season don't have to worry about a replay of last year's flu vaccine shortage, officials say.

Last year, a recall contributed to a nationwide shortage in flu shots.

"We've had no trouble with our deliveries," said Nancy Tausz, disease containment division director for the Johnson County Health Department. "Right now we're waiting on another delivery, so we've got just a little bit left."

The flu season traditionally runs from October to March, Tausz said, and it takes several weeks after getting the vaccine for it to be effective. Health officials recommend people age 65 and older, children with chronic heart or lung conditions, pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems get flu shots.

Tausz said the health department offers shots to children and adults for $20 per shot. Children in low-income families can also get assistance for flu shots. The Johnson County Health Department has two locations: 6000 Lamar, Suite 140, Mission and 11874 S. Sunset, Suite 300, Olathe.

"We do get some vaccine from the state for that," she said. "The vaccine is free from the state but there is a $14 administration fee, but that is waived if you're not able to pay."

Tausz said health care providers and companies also provide flu shots for a fee. Healthy Solutions Incorporated will provide flu shots to the public from 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 17 at the De Soto Community Center, 32905 W. 84th St. According to their agreement with the community center, flu shots will be offered for no charge if the primary insurance is Medicare, Coventry, or Humana or the patient has a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City voucher. All others will pay $25.

Mill Valley High School nurse Chris McPherson said the school does not offer flu shots to students. She said students should contact their health care provider or the Johnson County Health Department for flu shots.

McPherson said many people mistake a common cold or virus for the flu.

"People use the word flu as a generic term," she said. "They'll use it as a catch-all. You might just have an upper respiratory infection that's not the flu."

She said symptoms for the flu include aches and pains, fever, sweats, chills, muscle and joint pains, fatigue and weakness, sore throat and coughing.

For a complete list, visit the Center for Disease Control's Web site at www.cdc.gov

McPherson said the best way to avoid the flu or any other type of illness is hand washing.

"We don't recommend school-age children for flu shots unless they have any type of chronic illness, like asthma, or anybody who lives with someone who is immuno-compromised," she said.

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