Archive for Saturday, November 6, 2004

County might get extra KU flu shots

Health center to share leftover vaccinations

November 6, 2004


Leftover shots from Kansas University's flu clinic at Watkins Student Health Center may go to the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.

Dr. Myra Strother, Watkins chief of staff, said Friday that officials should know by Monday whether there was vaccine left from the clinic and how much was available.

"We would love to be able to provide for Kansas University retirees and allow them to have a chance to get a shot," Strother said. "But we also would be happy in passing it along to the county health department, knowing they've had trouble getting the vaccine."

Because of a supplier problem, the United States is experiencing a shortage of flu vaccines this year.

KU's health center received about 700 doses of flu vaccine earlier this month. Strother said 405 shots were given between Tuesday and Thursday. KU's clinic ended at 6 p.m. Friday. Only students, faculty and staff members in high-priority groups as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were able to get shots at KU.

Strother said people not in a priority group were turned away.

Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department spokeswoman Janelle Martin said nurses with the department had been in contact with Watkins officials. Martin said providing vaccine to KU retirees in high-priority groups or selling the vaccine to the health department were acceptable uses.

"For us, it doesn't matter so long as the vaccine goes to people in the priority groups," she said.

Martin said the health department hadn't received any additional flu vaccine.

Other county health departments also will receive vaccine through state universities.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will purchase 1,830 doses of vaccine from universities and redistribute them to health departments. The 1,830 doses are part of a different shipment than what KU used for its clinic.

The KDHE is following a new plan for vaccine redistribution, with a goal that each county has enough vaccine to cover 20 percent of its estimated high-risk population.

The following groups are at highest risk for complications associated with the flu, and they receive priority in getting a flu shot:¢ People 65 years of age and older.¢ Children 6 months to 23 months.¢ Pregnant women.¢ Children and teenagers, 6 months to 18 years of age, who take aspirin daily.¢ Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities.¢ Adults and children 2 years of age and older with chronic lung or heart disorders, other chronic diseases or weakened immune systems.¢ Household members and out-of-home caregivers of infants under 6 months.¢ Health-care workers who work with patients in priority groups.

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