Flu vaccine: No problem this year

By Michaela Gibson Morris

Daily Journal

Demand for flu shots has been brisk, but they are still available in Northeast Mississippi.

“We've been pretty busy in terms of flu shots,” said David Barber, chief executive for the North Mississippi Medical Clinics, which includes more than 40 offices around the area. “We haven't had any supply-and-demand issues.”

The Mississippi State Department of Health has distributed more than 70,000 doses of flu vaccine out of the 130,000 doses it ordered, said Liz Sharlot, communications director for the state health department.

Nationally, there has not been the vaccine shortage that marked last year's flu season, but shipping delays by manufacturers have meant many physicians' offices did not get an early start. Unlike last year, there are no guidelines restricting who should get the vaccines.

For those who haven't received a shot this year, it's not too late.

It usually takes about two weeks for the flu shots to take full effect, Sharlot said, and “we typically don't reach the peak of our flu season until late December.”

So far, sporadic influenza activity has been reported in only a handful of states, and no cases have been confired by the state lab in Mississippi at this point.

However, those who want the shots shouldn't delay.

“I suspect most of the clinics will be running out some time next month,” Barber said.

Contact Michaela Gibson Morris at 678-1599 or e-mail michaela.morris@djournal.com