Kansas to receive additional flu vaccine

? State officials said Monday that 5,400 doses of flu vaccine would be available for doctors and local health departments within the next couple of weeks.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said 370 of the doses were coming from the Department of Corrections, which had them left over after vaccinating inmates and employees.

In addition, 1,550 doses of vaccine specifically for children were being sent to Kansas by the federal Centers for Disease Control, which obtained the vaccine from Great Britain, said KDHE spokeswoman Sharon Watson.

Those doses and the prison system’s doses will be free.

The CDC also planned to make about 3,500 doses of British-made vaccine for adults available to Kansas’ 99 local health departments in early January, Watson said. Those doses will cost $7.40 each because the CDC obtained them from a manufacturer instead of a public agency, Watson said.

Three weeks ago, KDHE declared flu widespread, whereas outbreaks during the previous four seasons were only regional. The season begins in September or October and lasts through the following May.

This season, nine people in Kansas have died from influenza, compared with five for the entire 2002-03 season, KDHE said.

Also, KDHE said influenza or pneumonia had been a contributing factor in an additional 393 deaths so far this season, compared with 1,143 all of last season.