Not much time left to avoid the flu - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Not much time left to avoid the flu

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January 18, 2005

Valdosta - Three months ago, the line of people waiting for a flu shot stretched halfway around Mathis Auditorium. But that's not the case anymore. "We really haven't had a demand for the flu vaccine," said Debra Adams, Nurse.

The South Health District still has about 140 flu shots left, and 100 doses of the flu mist nasal vaccine. But over the past few weeks, those vaccinations haven't left the shelves. "I think people are just not really concerned about the flu right now," said Adams.

That's not the perspective people had back in the fall, when hundreds braved the cold and stood in line for hours for their chance at a shot. "Usually we order about 5,000 doses and right now in our district, we've distributed about 17,000 doses," said Jennifer Steedley.

Now that more vaccine is available, the C.D.C. has loosened the guidelines, and health officials say those who are eligible should take advantage of the opportunity. The flu season is far from over, and hasn't reached its peak yet. "In 23 of the last 28 flu seasons, the peak has been in February," said Adams.

It usually takes about two weeks for the vaccination to take effect, so there's just enough time left to protect yourself.

So far, this flu season has been a mild one with only two confirmed cases in Georgia. But in order for it to stay that way, people have to act fast and protect themselves before its too late.

posted at 3:35 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com