70,000 doses of flu vaccine to be delivered locally

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

RALEIGH – State Health Director Leah Devlin today announced that the state has obtained 70,000 doses of flu vaccine that will be delivered to local health departments across the state within the next two weeks. The 70,000 doses of vaccine were ordered from drug manufacturer Aventis prior to the announcement that Chiron – the only other pharmaceutical producing flu vaccine – would not be allowed to distribute vaccine this year.

&uot;This is good news and will help address some of the needs of our population most at risk,&uot; Dr. Devlin said. &uot;And while the need for vaccine still is much greater than what is available, we will continue our efforts to obtain more.&uot;

The 70,000 doses are being distributed to the counties based on estimates of their high-risk populations and their existing vaccine supplies.

State health officials will continue efforts to obtain and redistribute vaccine as it becomes available. Health officials are also emphasizing precautions to prevent illness.

&uot;While our public health system remains focused on providing vaccine to residents who are considered at high risk, it is important for everyone to remember that the use of basic precautions can go a long way toward preventing illness,&uot; Dr. Devlin said. &uot;Practicing good hygiene such as washing your hands and covering your mouth when coughing may greatly reduce the risk of getting and giving colds and the flu.&uot;

The following is a list of additional steps residents can take to help prevent the spread of influenza:

Avoid close contact – avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.

Stay home when you are sick – if possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth – germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Seek care early – see your healthcare provider immediately if you develop flu symptoms; antiviral medications can help if taken early in the illness.