Flu vaccine on the way to Southwest Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flu vaccine on the way to Southwest Georgia

December 8, 2004

Albany-- Just as the flu season is about to hit, American health officials are importing more than a million doses of a new flu vaccine from Germany. So how much will come to Georgia?

Even without those doses, Albany's Public Health District is about to get more flu vaccines.

The news of new flu vaccines spread over lunch at the SOWEGA Council on Aging Wednesday afternoon. "Every year, we give the shots here at the center, but this year because of the shortage they didn't send us any," said volunteer Colleen Chappell.

Chappell got a flu shot this year, but many of these other seniors didn't. "I wanted to get it, but they were just out of the vaccine," said Catherine Hics. 

Hics and others were turned away from the health department-- some more than once-- because the flu shot ran out.

The nation lost half of its vaccine supply when a British plant was shutdown after officials found contamination. Hics and millions of other Americans were left looking for other ways to stay healthy. "I'm not worried about getting sick because I'm taking Vitamin C."

But as the height of the flu season nears, vitamins may not be enough to fight the flu. Yesterday, America got a shot in the arm. Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline promised to provide as many as four million doses of the vaccine. It's not yet licensed in America, but officials say it works.

The state Department of Public Health hasn't heard how many, if any, of those doses will come to Georgia. But 215,000 doses of another vaccine is being shipped to health departments around the state right now.

Chappell hopes her friends will get these shot and feel the relief of being vaccinated. "I feel real safe. I've had it every year that they've given it, and it's really helped me. I used to have laryngitis all the time, now I rarely ever have a cold."

Georgia health officials say they should know in the next few days how much of the German vaccine the state will receive.

posted at 5:05PM by dave.miller@walb.com