SMDC has seasonal flu vaccine for all agesSMDC plans to administer the vaccine, both spray and injection, at its ongoing flu clinic at its First Street building in downtown Duluth. H1N1 shots still limited to children and priority adults.
The SMDC Health System has laid its hands on hard-to-get seasonal flu vaccine, landing 13,000 doses that the public will see starting Wednesday.
SMDC plans to administer the vaccine, both spray and injection, at its ongoing flu clinic at its First Street building in downtown Duluth. The shots will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The seasonal FluMist is $56 while seasonal injection is $48. Many health insurance plans cover the cost of the vaccine.
The SMDC flu vaccine clinic is located in the lobby at 420 E. First St.
“We finally got it, and we got a lot of it, so we’re ready for people starting” Wednesday, said Beth Johnson, SMDC spokeswoman. She said the vaccine also will go to SMDC regional clinics.
Many Northland providers ran out of seasonal flu vaccine quickly last month or never received any as manufacturers were overloaded with demand to produce H1N1 vaccine.
Walgreens in Duluth still is without seasonal flu vaccine and probably won’t get any this year, a pharmacist at the West Duluth store said.
St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth doesn’t have the seasonal flu vaccine available for the general public, and Falk’s Pharmacy still hasn’t received a shipment.
“We’re still hoping. I just talked to the wholesaler and we’re still on their list,” said Kim Newman, director of pharmacy operations for Falk’s.
According to Dr. Linda Van Etta, St. Luke’s flu expert, there still has been no reported outbreak of the seasonal flu anywhere in the U.S., and no cases in the Northland, so it’s not too late to get a vaccine. It usually takes several days for the vaccine to kick in, but the major seasonal flu outbreak probably won’t hit until January or later, local health officials agreed.
Meanwhile, SMDC continues to offer H1N1 vaccines to children 6 months to 4 years old and children ages 5-18 with chronic illnesses, as well as adults who care for infants. SMDC hopes to expand that to all ages with chronic illnesses, but state health officials who control the vaccine supply haven’t approved the move. Wisconsin health officials have approved expanding the H1N1 coverage starting Thursday for older children and adults with chronic health problems.
After seeing more than 800 people per day early last week when the H1N1 clinic opened, SMDC saw fewer than 100 people seeking the vaccine Monday, Johnson said.
According to Van Etta, reports this week seem to show the H1N1 virus is affecting fewer people, with fewer people reported sick.