Flu shots get back on normal schedule

Posted: Wednesday, November 29, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Fairbanks Regional Public Health Center has lifted its flu shot preference and is offering the shots to anyone who wants one until the supply runs out.

The center said nurses also are offering flu shots in 42 villages in Alaska's Interior.

In what was a nationwide problem, Alaska's health department received its allotment of flu vaccine in late October -- almost two months later than usual because the supplier had manufacturing problems.

Then officials said it took time to distribute about 85,000 doses of the vaccine, which went to public health centers, facilities run by Native corporations and other providers around the state.

A nurse at the health center said the vaccination schedule is back to normal. The center asked the state for 4,000 doses.

''We have gotten our full supply requested,'' said Verl Harrison, the public health center nurse manager.

With the vaccine in short supply, the center had been reserving shots for people at risk of developing complications from the flu, such as children with compromised immune systems, older people and women in the advanced stages of pregnancy.

Itinerant nurse manager Sylvia Cowan said the goal is to vaccinate the high risk people in the Bush, but anyone who requests a shot can get one.

Special flu shot clinics were held in Nenana, Healy, Cantwell and Anderson where demand was high, she said.

The center began offering the shots to the general public two weeks ago. It first thought it would not make the shots available to anyone who wanted one until December but now is handing out the shots on Wednesdays. The shots cost $6 apiece but the center won't turn anyone away who is unable to pay.



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