Over the past couple of years there's been a flu shot shortage nationwide.
Typically that's meant those at highest risk will be served first.
But with a recent turn of events, providers are going to screen heavily for those at highest risk.
This was the scene last year at this time at the Washoe County Health Department.
Flu shots were being administered to gentlemen like this who was 65 years or older and considered high risk for getting the flu.
There were other high risk groups as well....But when reports of childhood deaths associated with the flu started to emerge...the demand for vaccine skyrocketed. Lines and rationing followed.
This year expect the same scenario...only much sooner.
The list of those at high risk looks like this...children six to 24-months, seniors 65 years and older. Those with chronic underlying medical conditions. Health care workers involved in direct patient care, or out of homecare givers.
Other categories include women who will be pregnant during the flu season, children 6-to-18-months on aspirin therapy, and household contacts of children ages less than 6-months.
All of these groups will be at the head of the line for vaccines, healthy people will have to wait..and they may not get the vaccine at all.
That's because about 50-percent of our nation's flu vaccine was suppose to come from Chiron in Great Britain. Because of contamination found in the vaccine, those shipments won't be coming to the U-S.
Last year about one-hundred-million vaccines were available in this country....we used about 80-million.
Local health officials hope to get up to 64-percent of what was ordered this year. But that's still unclear because there will be a redistribution of the vaccine as some facilities across the country were depending upon Chrion for their sole supply.
The remaining 54-million doses will be coming from U-S manufacturer Aventis.
The first flu shot clinic of the year gets underway this Saturday at the Senior Center on 9th street from eight-to-11. There are other clinics scheduled and the schedule is listed on the links page of our website.
There are other options out there, Flumist which is a nasal spray but you have to be between 5 and 49-years of age to get it. It is not covered by insurance.
Also you can cut down your chance of infection by frequent hand washing, covering your mouth when you cough. Avoiding people with the flu, and if you are sick stay home from work.