Monday, Oct. 25

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Most at-risk vaccinated in Logan County

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[OCT. 25, 2004]  Flu vaccination continues this week throughout the state in counties that have received vaccine. The shortage of vaccine drew crowds at many clinics for the first-of-the-season shots last week. Like in many other areas, the Logan County Health Department pooled the county vaccine in order to see that those that are at highest risk from complications of flu were vaccinated first.

Starting last Monday lines formed outside the health department. Clinics ran Monday through Thursday until supplies ran out each day. Logan County Health Department administrator Mark Hilliard said he designated half the health department's employees, 20-22 staff members, each clinic time to screen, process and administer vaccinations, and there was very little wait for those who came later. Those who came to get in line early had the longest wait. By Thursday very few high at-risk people had been turned away due to the shortage.

An estimated 1,000-1,200 doses were administered. "We are confident that an overwhelming number of our high-risk population have been vaccinated at this point," Hilliard said. He said he would be in contact with the nursing homes to see that their residents who are in need get covered first. After that the vaccination process will be opened up to the next risk category of seniors and very young.

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Another batch of vaccine is expected in a couple of weeks. Hilliard said that the public will be alerted via media when that it is available, and there are updates on the health department's website. You can also get tips on how to protect yourself and prevent the spread of the flu. [Logan County Health Department]

Some counties in Illinois are reported not having any vaccine yet. However, Sangamon County ran eight scattered location clinics on Saturday and had vaccine left over at the end of the day, Hilliard said.

There are no other reports of any special flu or other difficulties expected for this flu season. The current crisis is simply a shortage of vaccine related to half of the anticipated U.S. shipment lost due to contamination at the manufacturer's site.

[Jan Youngquist]

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