Flu vaccine to be late this year

People considered as "high risk" for contracting influenza should see their primary care physician right away if they exhibit flu-like symptoms, said Christy Bronston, nursing services manager of the Mohave County Department of Health & Social Services.

Flu vaccines, normally received in September by the health department, have been delayed and are not expected to arrive until mid-October this year, Bronston said.

The Centers for Disease Control has advised the health department of a delay in delivery of the vaccines.

"The first reason given is that vaccine manufacturers have reported one of three influenza virus components used to make the vaccine this year has not grown as well as the strain used last year," Bronston said.

"Secondly, the Food and Drug Administration has taken regulatory action against two of the manufacturers licensed to distribute the vaccine, and those manufacturers intend to make corrections."

Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories in Marietta, Pa.

supplies the flu vaccine for the Mohave County Department of Health and Social Services and has stated delivery should be made here by mid-October, Bronston said.

However, there is no word as to whether a full order of vaccine will be delivered.

If not, people classified as "high risk" will be given priority in receiving shots, Bronston said.

Flu symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, runny nose, sore throat and cough.

People in the "high risk" category, according to the CDC, include: anyone 65 years of age or over; residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities; adults and children at least six months old with chronic pulmonary or cardiovascular disease, including asthma; adults or children at least six months old who have needed regular medical checkups or hospitalization in the last year due to chronic metabolic diseases (including diabetes mellitus), kidney dysfunction, blood disorders, or immune system problems; children aged six months to 16 years who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and which could heighten the danger of contracting Reyes Syndrome after influenza infection; and women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.

The health department will schedule influenza shot clinics once the vaccine has arrived, Bronston said.

People in the "high risk" category will receive their shots free.

Others will be charged $8, if there is enough vaccine available, Bronston said.

The flu season normally runs from November through April, but cases were reported into June of this year, Bronston said.

Residents should watch for announcements of clinics in the Kingman Daily Miner.

For more information on influenza, call the health department at 753-0714.