Vaccine situation improving: state reserving 7,000 doses

Vaccine situation improving: state reserving 7,000 doses An informal survey of nursing homes in the state indicates the delay in flu vaccine may not be as serious as anticipated said a state health official.

But as a precaution, the Department of Health is reserving 7,000 doses for at-risk elderly in the state who might need them.

"The age and health conditions of nursing home residents make them particularly vulnerable to complications from the flu," said Doneen Hollingsworth, secretary of health. "With the initial talk about delays and even possible shortages in this year's vaccine, we were concerned that nursing homes might have difficulty getting enough vaccine to protect their elderly residents. It now appears that many facilities already have their vaccine supplies or will soon get them."

The department orders some vaccine each year to distribute through its community health nursing offices in counties across the state. The 7,000 doses are being held back from that supply.

Hollingsworth said the agency will check with nursing homes again in mid-November about their vaccine supplies.

The department has also set up a computer listserv to give nursing homes and other influenza vaccine providers an opportunity to share information directly with each other about vaccine availability. The site can be found at http://www.state. sd.us/doh/News/immunize.htm.

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