Flu Shot Clinics Return To Payson

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Two flu vaccination clinics complete with hard-to-come-by flu vaccine will be held by the Gila County Health Department office in Payson from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday at 107 W. Frontier St., Suite A, Payson.

According to Cindy Shafe, office manager of the local health department office, not as many people showed up at their Tuesday clinic as were anticipated, so the health department has leftover vaccine.

"We had over 100 people from Payson show up in Globe (this week) to get their flu shots, because they didn't know we were doing it here," Shafe said. "We were prepared to administer more than 600 vaccinations (in Payson), and we ended up giving about 260."

The cost will be $10 per person, which goes entirely to the cost and administration of the vaccine. The shots are free to those who bring their Medicare cards to show they have Medicare Part B. There also will be no charge to children under the age of 18 with chronic illness.

Local residents who are 65 years of age or older or suffer from certain medical conditions are encouraged to receive the flu vaccinations to minimize the risk of flu side effects.

According to Center for Disease Control officials, the vaccine is not only becoming more available, but an additional 50 million doses will be shipped by the end of the month.

Both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration predict that the same number of doses will be distributed as last year, possibly more. CDC has contracted for the production of 9 million doses of influenza vaccine for the 2000-01 season ensuring that about the same quantity of influenza vaccine is available for the 2000-01 season as the previous year.

For the 1999-2000 influenza season, about 77 million doses of influenza vaccine were distributed in the United States. For the 2000-2001 influenza season, distribution of about 75 million doses is anticipated, including the 9 million doses contracted by CDC.

Flu season usually hits the United States between December and March. Receiving flu vaccine almost any time before it has hit your area is beneficial, health experts say, because immunity begins to develop within one to two weeks.

During a typical flu season, 110,000 people are hospitalized with complications from the flu and nearly 20,000 die.

For more information on the Gila County Health Department's Payson flu clinics, or for answers to questions about the flu and flu vaccine, call 474-1210.

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