Health Experts Working on Priorities for Flu Shots

With a shortage of flu vaccine nationwide, health officials across the country are asking healthy individuals to skip the flu shot this year.

Health Department officials in Marianna say they expected to administer 8,000 doses of the flu vaccine this year, but that’s going to be impossible because they have only received 2,000 doses.

The Jackson County Health Department is typical of most departments around the state, gearing up for a severe shortage of the vaccine this year.

Most have begun taking phone calls and pre-screening individuals to qualify for the limited vaccine supply.

The shortage is so great in Jackson County that even some citizens who fall into a high-risk category might be denied the vaccine.

William Long is a spokesman for the Health Department in Marianna and says, “If you are not in that high risk category of individuals it is not likely that you are able to get the flu shot this year, and sadly, not all of the individuals in that category will be able to get the vaccine because of the shortage.”

Here are the criteria for high risk:

    All children aged six months to 23 months.

    Adults aged 65 and older.

    Persons aged two to 64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions.

    Pregnant women.

    Residents of Nursing Homes and long-term care facilities.

    Children aged six months to 18 years who are on chronic aspirin therapy.

    Health care workers.

Flu season starts in November with December and January reporting the most cases. If you have any questions contact you doctor or county Health Department.