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No shortage of vaccines as flu season begins

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GINA R. HEINE
October 4, 2008
— There’s no need to fear a shortage of flu vaccine this year, area officials say.

The United States received more than 143 million doses of the vaccine, Mercy Health System infectious disease Dr. Keith Konkol said.


“We have a fairly large shipment on hand already,” he said.


Although the vaccine protects against three strains of influenza, it’s possible a strain will emerge that the vaccine doesn’t protect against, he said.


Sometimes officials get the right mix, sometimes not. Last flu season some flu cases did not “optimally” match the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


“Most of these influenza viruses originate in places like China and Southeast Asia,” Konkol said. “This year’s flu vaccine is kind of what the flu looked like a year ago in China and Southeast Asia. That’s how they predict it.”


Most of the strains are similar enough, though, that a vaccine will lessen your symptoms even if you get a strain that doesn’t match the vaccine, he said.


“The flu can change even throughout the season,” said Jessica Petitte, public health nurse at the Rock County Health Department. “It’s almost impossible to know how bad it will be.”


The vaccine lasts for a year.


This month kicks off flu season, which runs through March.


To keep the flu from kicking you into bed, remember these points:


-- “What I think is pretty interesting that a lot don’t know is how dangerous the flu is,” Petitte said.


The flu is the most frequent cause of death from a vaccine-preventable disease, she said.


About 36,000 people die each flu season, she said, while more than 200,000 are hospitalized.


-- Does the word “needle” alone make your child run away screaming? If so, FluMist might be an option. The nasal spray is a different form of the flu vaccine, recommended for healthy people age 2 to 49 who don’t have any underlying medical conditions, Petitte said.


Studies have shown the spray protects better than the shot, she said.


-- Officials recommend the vaccine for anyone who wants to reduce his or her chances of getting the flu.


The CDC and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend the vaccine for those who are at high risk for complications, including people who are:


-- Age 6 months to 19 years.


-- Pregnant.


-- Age 50 and older.


-- Suffering from certain chronic medical conditions.


-- Living in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.


-- Living with or caring for those at high risk for complications from flu.


Washing your hands often is one of the best ways to avoid getting the flu, Petitte said. Also, when you’re sick, stay home to prevent spreading your illness.


Rock County Health Department

Flu vaccinations are available by appointment on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings beginning Monday, Oct. 13, at the Rock County Health Department. Call (608) 757-5440 or (608) 364-2010 for an appointment. Cost is $22 for adults and $5 for children under 19 years.


Other flu clinics include:


-- 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Oct. 16, Edgerton Public Library, 101 Albion St, Edgerton.


-- 1 to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 21, Gathering Place, 715 Campus St., Milton.


-- 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, Clinton Senior Center, 506 Front St., Clinton.


-- 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, (Senior fair) Central Christian Church, 2460 Milwaukee Road, Beloit.


-- 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, (Senior fair) Marshall Middle School, 25 S. Pontiac Drive, Janesville.


-- 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Nov. 3, Faith Lutheran Church, 2116 Mineral Point Ave., Janesville.


-- 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 4, Olympian Hill Senior Apartments, 431 Olympian Boulevard, Beloit.


-- Noon to 2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 5, Riverview Heights Apartments, 930 N. Washington St., Janesville.


-- 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, Orfordville Lutheran Church, 210 N. Main St., Orfordville.


-- 9 a.m. to noon, Friday, Nov. 7, (Senior fair) Evansville Community Center, 320 Fair St., Evansville.


-- 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11, Grinnell Hall, 631 Bluff St., Beloit.


-- 8:30 to 10 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 13, Scoville Apartments, 545 Public Ave., Beloit.


Dean Health System clinics

For more information, call Dean’s toll-free flu vaccine line at 1-877-277-3326.


Riverview Clinic, 580 N. Washington St., Janesville, starting Tuesday, Oct. 14:

-- 1 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.


-- 8:30 a.m. to noon Wednesdays.


-- 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16 and Thursday, Oct. 30.


Northview Clinic, 2540 Humes Road, Janesville.

Adult clinics:


-- 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Oct. 14, 28, Nov. 11, 25


-- 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Oct. 21 and Nov. 4, 18


Pediatric clinics:


-- 2 to 5 p.m., Oct. 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4, 11.


Milton, 710 S. Janesville St.

-- 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., Oct. 14, 28, Nov. 11


-- 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Oct. 11, Nov. 6


Delavan, 540 Bowers Boulevard.

-- 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 14, 21


-- 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 22, 28


Mercy Health System clinics

Cost is $25, cash or check. Appointments are required unless noted. Shots will be billed to Medicare for those who carry Medicare Part B insurance.


-- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Oct. 14 and Oct. 21, Mercy Beloit Medical Center, 2825 Prairie Ave., Beloit.


-- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 15, Mercy Brodhead Medical Center, 2310 First Center Ave., Brodhead.


-- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, Mercy Edgerton Medical Center, 217 N. Main St., Edgerton.


-- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, Mercy Evansville Medical Center, 300 Union St., Evansville.


-- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, Mercy Milton Medical Center, 725 S. Janesville St., Milton.


Walk-ins only:

-- Mercy Health Mall, 1010 N. Washington St., Janesville, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesdays, Oct. 8, 22 and 29, and Wednesday, Nov. 12, and Saturday, Nov. 29; 2 to 4 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 17, Nov. 7 and 21; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 25, Nov. 8 and Nov. 22,


-- Mercy Clinic East, 3524 E. Milwaukee St., Janesville, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17 and Wednesday, Oct. 29.


-- Mercy Clinic West, 1000 Mineral Point Ave., Janesville, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17.



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