Health department offers seasonal flu vaccine; turnout low

Health officials were surprised Friday when the Mesa County Health Department put out the call for people to make appointments for seasonal flu shots, as opposed to H1N1 flu shots, and only a couple hundred people called.

Kristy Emerson, spokeswoman for the Health Department, said, “We felt for sure we would fill up in a hurry.”

The department had 600 appointments available for vaccinations today.

Initially, the department was limiting those vaccinations to high-risk groups. When the noon hour approached Friday and only one-third of the appointments had filled, the department decided to open the appointments to all adults above the age of 19.

The county has not yet seen any seasonal flu activity, Emerson said.

“Just because we had H1N1 early does not mean we will not see seasonal strains,” she said.

H1N1 flu activity peaked in Mesa County earlier this month. The seasonal flu usually peaks in January and February, Emerson said.

The seasonal vaccine differs from the H1N1 vaccine in that seasonal flu vaccine contains three different strains. The strains are chosen based on what kinds of flu activity are occurring in different parts of the world, Emerson said.

The director of the Health Department, Dr. Michael Aduddell, said the seasonal flu vaccine is temporarily in short supply.

“The Health Department has received a limited supply of seasonal vaccine, and we want to make sure those at highest risk have the opportunity to be vaccinated,” Aduddell said.

Emerson said the phone line to make appointments for today would be deactivated Friday night and reactivated when more vaccine is to be distributed.

Check on the availability of the vaccine at http://www.health.mesa county.us.


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