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A limited number of flu shots are now available at county health clinics in Georgia, state public health officials announced Wednesday. Some clinics are offering them today; others will begin Friday.
The 11,030 doses came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which purchased additional vaccine from overseas. The shots are for adults and children 4 and older. Some county clinics also have vaccine in for babies ages 6 to 24 months. The shots will cost about $15.
The vaccine was distributed based on county population. Seven clinics within Cobb and Douglas counties have about 1,000 shots that will be given today on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Other public health clinics kept a waiting list.
Health officials encourage people most at risk for contracting influenza to get a shot. That includes adults 65 and older; people suffering from chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and heart disease; pregnant women in their second and third trimester; and residents of long-term care facilities.
Flulike illnesses have declined in Georgia and elsewhere but flu season can last through March, officials said.
Although a recent CDC analysis found the vaccine offered little or no benefit against the Fujian strain that's caused a majority of illness, it could protect against other strains that may circulate later.
"People are still getting sick, flu is still circulating and we still don't know if another strain will cause a second wave of illness later this season," said Dr. Kathleen Toomey, director of the Georgia Division of Public Health.
For information on flu shots, call your county Health Department or see: www.health.state.ga.us.
Copyright 2004 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution