Limited supply of vaccine will treat nurses, doctors - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Limited supply of vaccine will treat nurses, doctors

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October 11, 2004

Albany- When Palmyra Medical Center begins vaccinating people for the flu, some of these nurses will be at the top of the list.

"Patients will come after our employees," said Anne O'Brien, chief nursing officer at Palmyra. "We only at this point have a couple hundred doses."

Palmyra does expect to get more vaccine in the coming months. But with the unexpected shortage, it's more important than ever that health professionals get the shot. At Phoebe, Dr. Craig Smith is planning the same thing for workers there.

"For two reasons. One is so the health care provider doesn't get sick themselves and two to prevent them from transmitting to other patients who may not be sick," Smith said.

Every year, health care workers treat hundreds of thousands of flu cases and more than 36,000 die. About 1000 people in Georgia die every year in Georgia from influenza.

"So we want to be able to maintain the workforce when this major onslaught of cases arrives," he said.

Because the question is not if a large number of people will get the flu this year, it's when.

posted at 4:55 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com