Sniffle of flu shots remains

By Kevin Wick

Despite a nationwide shortage of the flu vaccine, DeKalb residents and NIU students still have the option of receiving the shot if they fall into at-risk categories.

Currently, the DeKalb County Health Department has 600 doses of the vaccine available.

It is asking people who are otherwise healthy to not seek the vaccination so that it can be administered to those who need it most.

The health department, 255 N. Annie Glidden Road, will have a flu vaccination clinic from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday to administer the immunization to DeKalb residents who are at the highest risk of complications from the flu.

In a statement issued by the DeKalb County Health Department, Public Health Administrator Karen Grush said it is a difficult situation for the public and health care providers because of the unexpected vaccine shortage.

Earlier this month, the health department cancelled all community flu clinics after learning it would not receive the entirety the vaccination order it had requested.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set forth criteria that should be met for immunizations to be distributed to certain people.

Those who meet the CDC’s criteria include: all children 23 months to 6 years, adults 65 and older and individuals 2 to 64 with underlying chronic medical conditions.

On Monday, NIU Health Services began administering flu vaccinations to NIU students who fall into the groups defined by the CDC.

The vaccination is scheduled to be available to students from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, while the available supply lasts.

The expected supply of flu vaccinations for the United States was cut in half when British regulators shut down a major vaccine supplier because of suspected contamination at one plant earlier in October.

For more information on flu vaccine availability, contact the DeKalb County Health Department at 758-6673 or NIU Health Services at 753-9759.