The flu vaccine shortage that plagued government health agencies throughout the country this time last year is no longer a problem in Columbia County, officials have said.
"We just had that little bit of time when we had a shortage, but we've had plenty of it since," said Billie Bertrand, a registered nurse with the Columbia County Health Department.
Since October, the beginning of flu season, Bertrand estimated the health department has administered 3,000 flu shots.
"At this point, we only have 23 doses of pediatric flu shots and 65 doses for people 3 years and older available," Bertrand said last week.
Meanwhile, Columbia County officials announced a public flu shot clinic will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Government Complex Auditorium in Evans. Cost of the shots is $20, payable by cash or check.
At the beginning of 2005, a national shortage of flu vaccine forced the health department to institute a tiered system of administering shots.
Shots were first distributed to residents and workers of long-term care facilities, then to acute-care hospitals or other health care-based facilities and finally to community-based, high-risk populations.
As the amount of flu vaccine increased, the department abandoned the tier system and now administers shots on a first-come, first-served basis, Bertrand said.
To check on future flu vaccine clinics, call the health department at 541-1318, the Appling office; 868-3331, the Evans office; or 556-2737, the Grovetown/Harlem office.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Engage in physical activity.
- Manage stress.
- Drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods.
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