Archive for Thursday, December 16, 2004

Flu shot eligibility widens; vaccine availability tight

December 16, 2004

The announcement this week from state health officials that additional flu vaccine was being made available statewide and that they were expanding the pool of people eligible to get a flu shot won't have much effect in Leavenworth County, a local health official said.

Sylvia Burns, administrative director of the Leavenworth County Health Department, said she had not heard of any flu vaccine being redirected to the county.

"I doubt if we'll get anymore," she said.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, following a Dec. 8 recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is telling public health departments that flu vaccine may now be given to adults 50 years or over and people who live in households with individuals who have been targeted as high priority flu-shot recipients.

Those high-priority recipients are:

¢ Children aged 6-23 months.

¢ Adults 65 years of age and older.

¢ People 2-64 years of age with underlying chronic medical conditions.

¢ All women who will be pregnant during influenza season.

¢ Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

¢ Children 6 months to 18 years of age on chronic aspirin therapy.

¢ Health care workers involved with direct hands-on patient care, especially patient care of high-risk individuals.

¢ Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children younger than 6 months old.

State health officials report sporadic influenza activity in Kansas, which is normal for this time of year. There have been no culture-confirmed cases of influenza yet in Kansas. January through March is typically the peak time for flu in Kansas.

The department also issued a reminder on steps the public can take to avoid catching or spreading the flu. Those steps include:

¢ Proper and frequent hand washing with soap and warm water.

¢ Staying home from school or work when sick.

¢ Covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

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