Flu shots now available on walk-in basis

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Barry County Health Department began administering flu immunizations to all walk-in customers, regardless of risk factor, on Oct. 24.

Over the last three weeks, since flu vaccinations began to be administered to high risk individuals, 1,200 immunizat-ions have been given. Around 175 vaccinations were given on Oct. 24.

Although the number of immunizations administered has increased since last year, the statistics are difficult to compare, said Kathleen King, director of public health programs.

"Last year it was a difficult situation with the shortage," said King. "This time last year we administered 1,000 to 1,100 immunizations, but we gave our last vaccine on Nov. 10."

King said she couldn't estimate how long vaccine doses will last this year but doesn't expect a shortage.

"We have ordered 3,000 doses this year," said King, "and we have received 1,800. We expect the rest shortly."

This year, four pharma-ceutical companies are manufacturing the vaccine.

At this time last year, Chiron Corporation, one of two FDA-approved vaccine manufacturers in the U. S., announced it would not release any product due to problems at its British plant.

The announcement forced the Barry County Health Department to cancel its schedule of flu clinics last year.

Only one flu clinic, at Shell Knob School, has been scheduled outside Cassville this year. Flu immunizations will be administered by Barry County Health Department staff members at Shell Knob from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 3.

"We're thinking since we have had so many walk-ins, many people have already been served," said King. "We will hold the clinic in Shell Knob and see how it goes before scheduling other clinics."

The increased number of immunized individuals in Barry County could have a positive effect on the population's health by decreasing the number of influenza cases, said King.

Flu immunizations will be given at the health department offices in Cassville from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or at the Monett office between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon and 1 to 5 pm. Monday through Thursday.

The cost for immunization is $15. The health department will bill Medicare for reimburse-ment for patients with Medicare Part B insurance coverage.

For more information, call the Cassville office at 847-2114 or the Monett office at 417-354-8686.

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