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Phone lines to open for flu clinics

November 19, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Those eligible for Washington County's first public influenza vaccination clinics of the season will have to call on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday to schedule an appointment for the two-day event.

Those who don't may be left out in the cold.

The Washington County Health Department will hold vaccination clinics for "high-risk" county residents on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30, according to a Washington County Health Department news release.

People wishing to make appointments can do so by calling 240-313-3220 between Monday and Wednesday, the release stated. The number will not be activated until 7 a.m. Monday.

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The following are eligible to participate, according to the release:

· People who are older than 65 years old.

· People who have chronic medical conditions that place them at a high risk of a medical complication is they contract the flu.

· Women who are pregnant.

The release said that all who participate must be able to prove they are Washington County residents.

Health department spokesman Rod MacRae said the appointment schedule was established because of the restricted qualification guidelines set up for participants.

MacRae said the clinic was made possible because the county recently received thousands of vaccine doses from the state health department. The vaccine received was manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Aventis Pasteur.

Health departments across the country faced shortages of flu vaccine after British regulators shut down Chiron Corp. in early October. The British company was to produce at least 46 million doses of the vaccine for the United States this flu season before its Liverpool, England, plant was closed because of contamination.

MacRae said that more than 900 doses obtained earlier this year from Washington County Hospital's supply, which was purchased through Aventis, were administered at nursing homes.

MacRae stressed that patients taking part in this month's clinics should not try to "sneak in early." He said doing so could cause delays.

"People are really going to get the best service if they stick to their scheduled appointment times," MacRae said.

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