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Flu vaccine should be available for Nov. 3 clinic

"South Whidbey flu shot datesFlu shots will be available on South Whidbey at two clinics offered by the Island County Health Department.* Friday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland.* Wednesday, Nov. 15, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 5425 Maxwelton Road, across from South Whidbey Primary School.Shots cost $12 each. Group Health, Medicaid and Medicare will be billed. All others pay cash.Following the scheduled clinics, flu shots will be given at the regularly scheduled immunization clinic each Tuesday from 1-5 p.m. at South Whidbey Community Health, 5475 S. Maxwelton Road. Call 321-5111 for more information.Flu vaccine should arrive on Whidbey Island next week, but not in time for the first scheduled flu shot clinic.The first clinic was scheduled for Nov. 1 in Coupeville. But the Island County Health Department was notified that the expected vaccine shipment will be delayed.November first is definitely canceled, said Barbara Cope, assistant flu coordinator for the health department.As a result, Freeland may be the first place flu vaccine is available. A flu shot clinic is planned for Friday, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland.Cope said the vaccine is supposed to be shipped next Tuesday, meaning it should be ready for the Freeland clinic. But even then there will likely not be enough to go around.Due to a supply delay from the manufacturer, Island County will receive its vaccine shipment in three parts. The first, due next week, will supply about 16 percent of the total. The second shipment, scheduled for mid-November, will supply 59 percent, and a third and final shipment is planned for December. Cope said the health department administers about 3,500 flu shots annually.Islanders have been clamoring for flu shots for weeks. Cope said the many snowbirds who travel in the fall in winter prefer to get their shots as early as September. The phone's been ringing off the hook, Cope said. While there is no flu vaccine shortage, the supplies have arrived late throughout the nation due to production problems.Because demand will likely outstrip the early supply of vaccine, the health department urges that people be considerate of your medically fragile neighbors, Cope said.Flu shots will be prioritized, with the first priority being people at high risks of complications associated with the influenza disease: individuals with chronic disease; households of high risk persons; and individuals over 65 years of age. In addition, health care workers should be vaccinated to stop the potential spread to vulnerable people.As vaccine becomes available, it will be offered to individuals ages 50 to 64, and then to all other persons wishing to decrease their risk of influenza.Who's at risk?Those at high risk for complications from influenza are:* Persons age 65 and older, especially those with chronic illnesses.* Residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities that house persons of any age who have chronic medical conditions.* Children and adults who have chronic disorders of the pulmonary or cardiovascular systems, including asthma.* Children and adults who have required regular medical follow-up or hospitalization during the preceding year because of chronic metabolic diseases.* Persons age 6 months to 18 years who are receiving long term aspirin therapy and therefore might be at risk for developing Reye's syndrome after influenza.* Women who will be in the second or third trimester of pregnancy during the influenza season. "

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