Flu vaccine ready for all


Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 24, 2005 at 10:15 p.m.

With both pediatric and adult flu vaccines now available, Florida's Secretary of Health John Agwunobi announced Monday that all state residents are now eligible to be vaccinated.

"We are now able to offer flu vaccines to all Floridians," Agwunobi said. "With peak flu season just beginning, we encourage everyone to protect themselves from illness by seeking vaccination."

Alachua County Health Director Tom Belcuore said Monday, "We now have vaccine and will offer flu shots by appointment or on a walk-in basis at any of our clinics." The cost is $15, Belcuore added.

Vaccination is recommended for children over the age of six months. Children who already have received their first flu shot should get a second dose. It takes about two weeks after receiving the shot for it to be fully effective, health officials say.

Although the latest tracking data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show only sporadic cases of flu, health experts say that could change as seasonal residents make their way south for the winter.

A nationwide shortage of influenza vaccine was created when one of the two manufacturers of the U.S. supply had to withdraw its product from the market because of concerns over bacterial contamination.

As of late December, one-fourth of Florida's high-risk residents had yet to receive the flu vaccine. The group includes the elderly, the chronically ill, pregnant women, health workers and young children.

Sun staff writer Meredith Mandell contributed to this report.

Diane Chun can be reached at (352) 374-5041 or chund@gvillesun.com.

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