Influenza Clinics offer a shot in the arm

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

After last year’s shortage of influenza vaccine, there has been some concern regarding the availability of flu shots for the coming winter.

The short answer is that influenza clinics are being offered, with those considered a high risk being inoculated first.

Cindy Shaughnessy, director of Le Sueur County Public Health, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that until October 24 those people who are considered high risk should be inoculated first. After that date anyone can get an influenza shot.

Those that are considered high risk and are recommended to receive shots first are those:

• Age 65 and older

• Age 18 to 64 with underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, metabolic disease such as diabetes, kidney disease, immune system disorders, neuromuscular disorders which affect the ability to clear respiratory secretions

• Those age two to 64 years with chronic health conditions

• Pregnant women

• Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities

• Health care workers involved in direct patient care

• Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children less than six months of age

• Children age six to 23 months

Treating people who are high risk first is one of the aftereffects from last year, when half of the United States’ scheduled supply of flu vaccine was not available due to contamination concerns. Locally and nationally, clinics had to be changed to treat those people first while those who were not high risk were either treated later or went without an influenza shot.

Local clinics

The Public Health Departments for Scott and Rice counties are offering public influenza clinics to those who are considered high risk.

Clinics being provided by Scott County in October are Thursday, Oct. 20, 9-11 a.m. at Philipp Square, 116 First Ave. NW, New Prague and Friday, Oct. 21, 9-11 a.m. at Cardinal Ridge 200 W. State, Belle Plaine.

October clinic for Rice County is Thursday, Oct. 27, 3-5 p.m. at Rice County Government Center (adults and children over six months of age).

Rice County will also be having clinics for adults only in November. Those are November 2, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Morristown Government Center; November 3, 10-11:30 a.m., Northfield Senior Center; November 7, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Rice County Public Health; November 8, 9-10:30 a.m., Lonsdale Civic Center; and November 16, 1-3:30 p.m., Faribault Senior Center.

Shaughnessy said that Le Sueur County expects to offer clinics in the first half of November to those communities it typically has them in, which are Le Center, Montgomery, Waterville and Le Sueur.

The situation should be much improved over last year

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