Archive for Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Flu shots available for high-risk groups

December 1, 2004

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department has obtained additional flu vaccine with the assistance of the Student Health Services at Kansas University, enabling both to staff a mass dispensing clinic Dec. 12.
Approximately 1,300 doses of flu vaccine will be available for distribution to those people in the Centers for Disease Control's high priority groups. The clinic will run from noon to 4 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse on the Kansas University campus. The clinic will run while supplies last.
The doses of flu vaccine were secured by the student health center and sold to the health department for re-allocation.
"We were extremely excited when we were notified that we would be able to get more vaccine," said physician Myra Strother and chief of staff at Watkins Student Health Center. "We immediately started conversations with the health department on plans for helping out the KU, Lawrence and Douglas County communities."
The health department has been advised by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment that it, too, will be receiving additional flu vaccine. If that vaccine arrives by Dec. 10, there will be more than the 1,300 doses available Dec. 12.
"We believe we are fortunate that both Watkins and the health department can work together to address a need in the community," said Kay Kent, director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. "We look forward to working with Watkins' staff in this clinic."
In addition, the health department has continued conversations with KDHE to secure additional vaccine for other local health care providers in the county. This vaccine, too, should arrive no later than mid- to late-January.
As a reminder, the CDC's high priority groups for receiving flu vaccine are:
¢ Adults 65 years and older.
¢ Children aged 6-23 months.
¢ Persons 2 to 64 with chronic lung or heart disorders including heart disease and asthma;
¢ Pregnant women
¢ Persons 2 to 64 with chronic metabolic diseases (including diabetes), kidney diseases, blood disorders (such as sickle cell anemia), or weakened immune systems, including persons with HIV/AIDS.
¢ Children 6 months to 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy.
¢ Residents of nursing homes and chronic-care facilities.
¢ Out-of-home caregivers and household members of infants younger than 6 months (children younger than 6 months cannot be vaccinated).
¢ Health care workers who provide direct, face-to-face, hands-on patient care to those in the priority groups with regular frequency.
The charges for flu shots for children younger than 3 is $12. All others are $17. The health department does not deny service to anyone based on an inability to pay for services. Persons with Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross/Blue Shield or Healthwave should present their cards for billing purposes.
In October, the health department conducted a mass dispensing exercise at Free State High School in Lawrence where 1,432 shots were given to those in the CDC priority groups. Two weeks ago, the health department and KU's student health center worked together to re-allocate enough vaccine to address the needs of the remaining individuals in licensed assisted living and nursing homes in Douglas County who had not been vaccinated.
The health department continues its children's flu vaccine clinic during normal clinic hours with available VFC for those who qualify.
For more information, call the health department at 843-0721.

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