As was previously planned, Monday was
the opening day of flu vaccine. ["Logan
County begins high-risk population flu vaccinations Monday"]
However, this year things were different. One of the major
manufacturers of vaccine was shut down and the United States will be
short on vaccine this year. More vaccine is being produced but is
not expected to arrive until the season is half over.
The Logan County Health Department has
become the local distribution point for this year's flu vaccine.
Administrator Mark Hilliard said, "When we became aware that there
was a flu vaccine shortage and we would be getting very little of
what we ordered, we combined our effort with the Family Medical
Center, the Springfield Clinic here in town and the hospital and
pooled our vaccines."
With the cooperation of Logan County
physicians and the health department's medical adviser, Dr. Kasa,
stricter requirements than the CDC was recommending were imposed.
This was done because of the limited number of doses that are
available. Those who qualified for the first doses were those who
would be most susceptible to complications from getting the flu,
such as being over 65 or very young with a chronic health condition.
Four hundred doses of vaccine were
given Monday morning. Four hundred fifty doses were given Tuesday.
Vaccines were offered again on Wednesday.
On Monday, people were standing at
the health department entrance before 6 a.m. waiting for the doors
to open at 7:30 a.m. The vaccines were given until they ran out in
1½ hours. A couple of handfuls of people had to be told to come back
Tuesday's vaccinations were set to
start at noon. A few people were already standing outside at 7 a.m.
Those people were screened for qualification and then given a number
and told they could come back after 12.
At 11 a.m. the health department
lobby and halls were filled with those preferring to wait. Because
so many filled the premises, vaccinations began at 11:30 a.m.
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On Tuesday, there were fewer people
than on Monday who had to be told to come back after the vaccine ran
If you meet qualifications for the
vaccine, Hilliard recommends that you call the health department
first, phone 735-2317, to find out the availability and when you
might get an inoculation.
More vaccine is expected sometime in
the first couple of weeks of December. It is after the flu season
has begun and it takes a couple of weeks to build up immunity,
The local health departments
throughout the state and the
Illinois Department of Public Health are keeping a heightened
surveillance on the flu this year, Hilliard said. One case of flu
has been detected in Texas already for this season.
There have been a few complaints
from people who want vaccination for an elderly relative who fits
the CDC requirement with age but doesn't have a chronic health
condition, Hilliard said. There will continue to be monitoring and
reassessment of local needs. This includes the nursing homes, which
are also getting shorted.
Once the high-risk folks are done,
the vaccines will be opened to the next category of need.
Hilliard said that because the flu
"will be here, we just don't know how bad it's going to be," the
health department is making some added plans.
The health department is promoting
the following to reduce the spread of flu:
- Good personal hygiene.
- Hand washing.
- Cover mouth and nose when
coughing or sneezing.
- Do not drink from the same cup as
- If kids are sick, keep them home.
- If you are sick, you stay home.