First flu vaccines arrive in state, due here later

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Just in time for winter’s first cold snap, the Mississippi Department of Health received its first shipment of influenza vaccine.

Warren County residents will still have to wait until the end of the month for a shot at a shot of the vaccine that has been delayed nationwide.

The first batch to hit the state was a meager 1,990 doses out of the 130,000 ordered and will be headed for the Gulf Coast.

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“In the past, our surveillance has usually shown flu activity on the Gulf Coast before any other part of the state,” said State Health Officer Dr. Ed Thompson.

The vaccine will be available beginning today at health department clinics in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties. The rest of the state will see the vaccine in health departments in about two weeks when the remaining shipments are expected, officials said.

In June, flu vaccine manufacturers warned federal public health officials to expect delays in vaccine shipments. Initial shipments in the state and across the nation are being aimed at those considered at high risk for the flu.

People considered high risk for influenza complications are:

Anyone 65 or older.

Residents and personnel of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities.

Adults and children who have chronic disorders of the pulmonary or cardiovascular systems.

Adults and children who have required regular medical follow-ups or hospitalization during the past year because of chronic metabolic disease, kidney dysfunction, blood disorders or immunosuppression.

Children and teens receiving long-term aspirin therapy.

Women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.

Physicians, nurses and other personnel in hospitals and outpatient-care facilities.

Household members of people in high-risk groups.

“The first public health priority is to help high-risk people obtain vaccine,” Thompson said. “We just need the cooperation of those at low risk right now.”

Although the flu season in Mississippi does not usually start until mid-December or early January, the health department recommends the vaccine soon for those at high risk.