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No vaccine again; clinic in Freeland postponed

"What will get to Island County first -- the flu or the vaccine that is supposed to prevent it?For the second time in two weeks, an expected shipment of flu vaccine failed to arrive at the Island County Health Department. As a result, the flu shot clinic scheduled for Freeland this Friday has been cancelled, according to Trish Rose, Whidbey General Hospital spokeswoman.Rose said Wyeth Pharmaceuticals notified the Health Department on Tuesday that the shipment would again be delayed. The vaccine manufacture has been late distributing vaccine throughout the nation due to production problems.Rose said the Freeland flu shot clinic has been rescheduled for Friday, Dec. 1. The first South Whidbey clinic is now set for Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Maxwelton Road. All dates are tentative, of course, depending on delivery of vaccine.Rose said that so far, the hospital has not had any flu patients this year, although the flu is said to be going around the Vancouver, B.C. area. If it arrives in this area, there will be some very sick people. You're going to be down for a good long time, she said. I'm heartsick. Our community relies on this (vaccine) so much.Dr. Patrice O'Neill, Freeland's long-time town doctor, said Tuesday that the flu usually doesn't hit this area until January, so people should be OK as long as they get their flu shots in November or December. She was irritated, however, that Costco customers already have access to flu vaccine, as the supplier sold the huge retailer a large amount. They sold it to Costco and there's none in the Coupeville nursing home, she said. I can't believe it. "

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