Cost of flu vaccine reduced

Tuesday, January 8, 2008 | 4:58 p.m. CST; updated 5:58 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

COLUMBIA — The cost of a flu vaccine from the Columbia/Boone County Health Department was reduced from $20 to $10 on Tuesday.

Mary Martin, a public health manager at the health department, said the department had to order the vaccines months in advance of making them available to the public based on predictions of both the incidence of flu and demand for the vaccine.

“Every year it’s kind of a guessing game,” Martin said.

Martin said the health department purchased more than 7,700 doses of nasal spray and injectable vaccines for the 2007-2008 flu season; the department has run out of nasal spray, also known as flu mist, while about 800 doses of injectable vaccine are left.

On average, it takes two weeks for the vaccine to provide full immunity, Martin said, but it is not too late to prevent infection.

According to the health department, flu season peaks from mid-January to mid-February, and with the first culture-tested case of influenza confirmed by the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory last week, “it’s time to encourage people to get their flu shots,” Martin said.

The health department advises all children 6 months to 5 years and adults over 50 to get vaccinated, as well as people with a chronic medical conditions, women who might be pregnant and all health care workers. Anyone who wants to reduce the risk of contracting the influenza virus should get vaccinated as well.

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