Flu shots open to everyone

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 21, 2005

Everyone can get a flu shot now, Ashton Parikh said, at least while supplies last.

“It’s not much left now, but we’ll give it to anybody that will come,” he said.

Parikh, head of the Dallas County Health Department, said the state lifted restrictions on who can and can’t get a flu shot.

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Before, according to a state press releases, the vaccine was only for “high-risk” groups: the elderly, babies and pregnant women, along with those with chronic illnesses, like diabetes.

State health officials said they lifted the restrictions to help keep the disease in check this season.

“This offering will help decrease the transmission of influenza in the state and should help clinics utilize the remaining vaccine to the greatest extent possible,” State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson said Thursday.

Because of a shortage of vaccine, shots initially were limited to the most high-risk recipients and certain health care workers, although the restrictions were loosened slightly in recent weeks.

Williamson said about 5,000 flu shots remain in county health departments, but physicians and pharmacists in the state are being sent 46,000 more doses this week.

He said indications are that the state is experiencing a mild flu season, but he cautioned that the number of cases usually peaks in January and February in Alabama. The state has reported only seven cases of flu to the Centers for Disease Control so far this season.

Parikh said the Dallas County Health Department will open at 8 a.m. and close at noon The clinic will reopen again at 1 p.m. and close for the day at 5 p.m.

“People who want to get it they can come in now,” Parikh said.

For more information, contact the Dallas County Health Department at 874-2550.