Flu shot finally arrives at SMDCThe SMDC Health System has obtained more of the hard-to-get seasonal flu vaccine, landing 13,000 doses that the public will see starting today.
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
The SMDC Health System has obtained more of the hard-to-get seasonal flu vaccine, landing 13,000 doses that the public will see starting today.
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 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,” SMDC spokeswoman Beth Johnson 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.
The Walgreen Drug Stores in Duluth still are 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 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.
SMDC’s announcement of ample seasonal flu vaccine is welcome news to Cheryl Anderson of Duluth. She was vaccinated for seasonal flu earlier this year at UMD where she works, but they ran out before the rest of her family could be vaccinated.
“We had every intent on getting them vaccinated for the seasonal flu this year, but it hasn’t been available,” she said.
There still has been no reported outbreak of the seasonal flu anywhere in the U.S., said Dr. Linda Van Etta, St. Luke’s epidemiologist and infection disease specialist, 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.
Van Etta said reports this week seem to show the H1N1 virus affecting fewer people.