Ed Yeates ReportingBecause of a major glitch in the vaccine supply, the State Health Department today says it will follow the CDC guidelines recommending current flu shots only for those who need it the most, first.
If you're healthy, don't get a flu shot, at least for now. Starting today, all public and private immunization setups in clinics, marketplaces and offices should reserve flu shots for those defined as high risk. For now, health departments want to see how far the vaccine will go with these high risk groups.
Scott Williams, M.D., Utah State Health Department: "So our challenge is going to be redirecting the vaccine from the people who have it who may give it to mostly healthy people in a normal year to those places that are not going to get it who cover most of these high risk groups."
Who has first priority? Children six to 23 months old, children six months to 18 years who are on aspirin therapy, those 65 years and older, people two to 64 years with respiratory and chronic conditions, pregnant women, caregivers in nursing homes or those who take care of the sick, and all family members where there's an infant under six months of age in the household.
For all the rest of us, try to stay healthy without a flu shot. Wash, wash, wash your hands. If you get sick, stay home from work, school, and away from public gatherings.
Hospitals are asking people who are sick not to visit family members there. If you're sniffling, coughing or sneezing, you may be asked to wear a mask. Stay home and treat your illness symptomatically.
Rouette Abouzel, LDS Hospital Infectious Disease Nurse: "Take your either anti-viral medicines or something as simple as your over the counter pain reducers, fever reducers, like Tylenol or ibuprofen, those types of things, you know; we'll be fine."
State Health also wants high risk people to get their pneumonia shots this year. There's no shortage of that vaccine.
Dr. Williams says State Health will look at the vaccine supply a month from now to see how it's fairing, to see if remaining supplies can be offered to everybody.