Flu hits south Georgia, vaccines running out - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flu hits south Georgia, vaccines running out

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December 5, 2003

Albany - The flu has hit south Georgia and companies that make the vaccine have run out. With the early flu outbreak, parents are concerned for their kids.

So many Americans are getting flu shots and the companies that make the vaccine are out. All of the flu vaccine in the United States is made by two companies Chiron and Aventis Pasteur.

More people are getting the vaccine because this flu season is expected to be a severe one. The companies could make more vaccine, but that would take four months and by then, the flu season would be over.

You may still be able to get your shot. Suppliers haven't distributed all of the vaccine they have, but if you plan to get one, you better hurry.

Four children have died in Colorado because of flu-related illnesses. The children were 21-months-old, two, eight and fifteen. Health officials call the outbreak the most serious they've ever seen and the peak flu season is still a month away. The scare has sent many parents with kids in tow to get their flu shots.

Twins, Robbie and Rustie Dixon, share looks, clothes and germs. His mother, Kimberly Dixon, agrees, "When one gets sick, they both get sick."

Mrs. Dixon didn't want to take double chances. She says, "I brought them in for a flu shot." The 13-month-old boys were clearly not big fans of the flu shot. Their mother says, "No, but they only cried for a few minutes."

Southwest Georgia Pediatrics has been flooded with flu calls. The nurse tells a caller, "All doctors here are recommending the flu shot and we just received more vaccinations."

One of those shots will be 14-year-old Chase Farmer's first flu shot. He explains, "Because there's a flu outbreak." Chase got the flu last year. He remembers, "I was out of school for about four days."

Doctors say this year's flu shot may not even attack the flu strain that's going around, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Children between the ages of six months and two-years-old should get a flu shot and also children with high risk conditions like asthma.

Each year, an estimated 36,000 Americans, mainly the elderly, die from the flu.

posted at 4:50PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com