Flu Vaccine Continues to Arrive in Vermont: Sufficient Supply Expected This Year

Health Commissioner encourages patience and persistence. Late November and early December not too late to get shots

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 10, 2005

CONTACT: Communication Office

BURLINGTON – Influenza vaccine continues to arrive in Vermont and a sufficient supply is expected to meet a higher demand this year. Approximately 125,000 doses has arrived in the state and more is on the way, which already exceeds the 110,000 doses administered last year.

The Vermont Department of Health has been working closely with health care providers, hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies during the past month to closely monitor the vaccine supply and assist with distribution of vaccine where it is most needed.

Flu season typically begins in December or January and peaks in February and it is not too late for Vermonters to receive the shots in November and December.

“We are working hard to see that everyone who needs a flu shot will be able to get one this season,” said Dr. Jarris. “It is especially important that seniors, young children, pregnant women, health care workers and anyone with serious chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes or asthma get vaccinated.”

One-hundred percent of the pediatric flu vaccine supply ordered statewide has arrived in Vermont and 80 percent of those doses have been distributed.

Some shipments of vaccine from the nation’s leading manufacturers arrived into Vermont in phases this season, which led to gaps in local availability.

Southeastern Vermont is one area of the state where availability was uneven, while other areas of the state have an adequate supply. The Brattleboro Office of the Vermont Department of Health has partnered with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) and Maxim Health Systems to conduct a flu vaccination clinic to help remedy the limited availability in Brattleboro on Saturday, Nov. 19.

The exact location of the clinic and times people can receive flu shots will be announced soon.

Flu symptoms can be confused with the common cold, but the flu usually comes on more suddenly and is more severe. Flu symptoms include fever (usually high), headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and body or muscle aches. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are symptoms that are more common among children than adults. Unlike the common cold, the flu can cause serious illness and can be life-threatening. Each year over 36,000 people in the U.S. die from complications of the flu.

The Vermont Department of Health especially recommends annual flu vaccinations for people at high risk for serious complications from the flu:

People such as health-care workers, out-of-home caregivers and household contacts who can spread the disease to those at high risk should also be vaccinated.

For important information and updates related to influenza and influenza vaccine, visit the Vermont Department of Health website: www.healthyvermonters.info