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Flu Vaccine Shortage Felt In Mother Lode

Amid the first caution of the season, warning senior citizens to not miss their flu shots, comes the news that as much as half of the U.S. supply of influenza vaccine this year will not be available.

The government is asking healthy adults to delay or skip flu shots after the British government shut down a plant operated by Chiron Corporation.

Emeryville-based Chiron makes about half the vaccine supplied to the U-S in its plant in Liverpool, England.

“From all the information we have at this point, this corporation which made the vaccine has been put on suspension for, probably, about three months,” said Jill Castle with the Tuolumne County Health Department.

How will this affect getting a flu shot in the Mother Lode?

Castle says first, high-risk patients will be given the vaccine.

“We´re currently in the process of looking everywhere we can for flu vaccine. We´re looking into the nasal mist, and we have some other options open as far as getting vaccine from other providers in the area and other pharmacies.”

Meanwhile, Gail Witzlsteiner from Sonora Regional Medical Center says they´ve already received their doses from one of the other companies supplying the vaccine, Aventis.

SRMC will now be working to assist the county, now that the 2400 doses which the county had ordered are not coming.

“The county will not receive the dosages that they ordered because they had ordered them from the company that´s in question, and so we will redistribute our doses to assist the county in meeting the needs for those patients who are on the CDC´s High Risk list,” Witzlsteiner said this morning.

Castle also said flu vaccine clinics are starting in our area as soon as next Tuesday, at Save Mart, adding that high-risk patients would be vaccinated first.

We will redistribute our doses to assist the county in meeting the needs for those patients who are on the CDC´s High Risk list.