Flu shots well under way on peninsula

Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2000

After delays in receiving orders for the seasonally coveted flu shot, area medical and senior centers are now operating clinics to administer the vaccine.

Gayle Erickson, an administrative clerk at the Kenai Peninsula Public Health Center, said the shot is available at the center's clinics through Nov. 21.

The center, located in the Kenai City Hall building, holds clinics for children from 1 to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Clinics for adults are Tuesdays from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Homer Public Health Center offers the vaccine from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, except for Thanksgiving.

In Seward, residents may receive the shot from the public health nurse during immunization clinics. The next clinic will be from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 28. People also may make appointments.

Lois Daubney, the public health nurse in Seward, said she is providing the shot with preference for those in high-risk groups, such as children and the elderly. Daubney said Providence Road Medical Center also has the vaccine.

North Star Native Clinic in Seward is providing the vaccine for Natives.

Public health nurses also administer the vaccine at central peninsula senior centers. The nurses visit the Kenai Senior Citizens Center from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and the Soldotna Senior Center on Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. They visit the Nikiski Senior Center from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Fridays.

The Nikiski Senior Center clinics are open only to senior citizens. The Kenai and Soldotna centers will not turn people away from their clinics, although they primarily are for seniors. Shots at the senior centers are provided to those who sign up for them through the senior center offices.

Senior citizens on Medicare have their immunizations billed to that agency; others must pay for their shots directly to the Public Health Department. Immunizations are $6.

The last Public Health Center clinic on Nov. 21 will run from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

The center normally holds flu shot clinics in mid- to late October. But delays in the growth of the vaccine this year, coupled with the Federal Drug Administration's scrutiny of some vaccine manufacturers, prevented the delivery of the shots at that time.

The state ordered 85,000 shots, according to Laurel Wood, Immunization Program manager at the Section of Epidemiology of the Department of Health and Social Services.

Wood said the state now has received most of its order.

"We've received enough to be able to supply everyone who placed an order with us, so we're really pleased about that," she said.

Some providers ordered directly from manufacturers, she said, and therefore had the vaccine available earlier.

Wood said those who received the vaccine from those providers, having heard that the state had not yet received its orders, were concerned they had not received the right shot.

"There's been some confusion," she said. "Some people who got (the shot) early are concerned they didn't get the right one."

Wood said the vaccine is the same, regardless of the provider, and that recipients should not be concerned.

Private practices also have the vaccine. Individuals may contact their physicians for information on the influenza vaccine and on receiving it.

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