MAHONING VALLEY Health experts urge flu shots for all



By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
VINDICATOR HEALTH WRITER
Local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging all residents to get influenza shots this fall.
CDC officials are expecting a particularly virulent virus this year. This year's vaccine protects against three strains: A/Moscow, A/New Caledonia and B/Hong Kong, the types of flu believed to most likely occur in the United States this winter, Wayna Hightower, director of nursing for the Youngstown Health Department, said.
Unlike the past two years, when it was feared the number of available doses of flu vaccine would not meet demand, this year the CDC said that 85.5 million doses of the vaccine are available, enough for all who want to be vaccinated.
Recommendation changes
As a consequence, CDC has changed its usual recommendation that people in high-risk categories be vaccinated before the general population. CDC is urging everyone to get the vaccine.
Youngstown City Health Department expects to receive about 1,000 doses from the Ohio Department of Health, Hightower said.
She said her department does not offer the new nasal spray vaccine made with a weakened live virus. Nor does the Youngstown health department have shots for children age 9 and under. They require a different dose, Hightower said.
The Warren City Health Department also expects to get about 1,000 doses from ODH.
Lynn Larentzos, nursing director, said her department also orders doses directly from the manufacturer.
Selene Layton, director of nursing for the Trumbull County Health Department, said the 2,400 doses she ordered are expected sometime in October.
She said her department will, as in the past, inoculate people over 49 years old and people at risk 18 and over. The department does not give shots to children, Layton said.
First shipment
The Mahoning County Health District expects to get its first shipment of the 6,000 doses it ordered within a few days. The doses are for the at-risk population.
Matthew Stefanak, health commissioner, said county nurses conduct shot clinics in most townships and municipalities in Mahoning County.
The peak flu season is January through March, according to CDC.
The ODH has received the 280,000 vaccine doses it ordered and local health departments should have their supplies within a few weeks, Jay Carey, director of public affairs, said.
alcorn@vindy.com

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