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New shipment of flu shots Wednesday

By M.J. Ellington
DAILY Staff Writer (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — People who missed a flu shot earlier this fall have another chance to boost their immunity against winter's greatest health menace. For 20,000 more Alabamians, there is still time to get a flu shot.

Morgan County Health Department got a new shipment of vaccine from the Alabama Department of Public Health on Monday. The department will give shots again from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. beginning Wednesday at the Health Department, said Jessica Smith.

Limestone County plans to give shots from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays at its office in Athens.

Lawrence County supply

In Lawrence County, shots will be from 8 a.m. Wednesday until the supply is exhausted, said Kathy Sanderson, administrator of the Health Department. She suggested people call 974-1141 for more information.

Ron Grantland, Public Health Area 2 Administrator, said Health Department staff in all area counties got the vaccine Monday and should have the vaccine available sometime this week. Grantland said the state wants remaining vaccine distributed by Dec. 16.

State public health got the additional vaccine from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week as part of the CDC effort to spread the remaining vaccine more widely. Dr. Don Williamson, state health officer, said a limited amount of vaccine arrived at about the same time at some private doctor's offices in the state.

Although this year's vaccine supply is more plentiful than in 2004, Williamson said the country still needs a more coordinated flu vaccine delivery system. Not everyone who wants a flu shot will get one this year because of limited supply, but there is much more vaccine available than last year.

Williamson said many private doctors are hesitant to order the one-season-only vaccine for their patients because they cannot return leftover vaccine, if patients do not buy it. He favors a system where the federal government guarantees purchase of a set number of vaccine doses to interest more drug companies to make the vaccine.

"In Alabama, influenza usually peaks in January and February, and so it's not too late to be immunized," Williamson said. The vaccine usually takes effect after about two weeks.

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