Earlysville resident Don Miller, 57, once had the flu, but never a flu shot– that is, until Monday, January 10, when state health officials eased this year's restrictions on flu immunizations. Healthy persons between 50 and 60 years old are now eligible for the preventative inoculations that looked to be in short supply at the beginning of the current flu season.
"It's for general protection," said Miller of the $18 shot he received without so much as a wince.
Nursing supervisor Deborah L. Childs, at the Charlottesville/Albemarle Health Department offices on Rose Hill Drive, reports that staff members of the public health department immunized 283 people on Monday, depleting the majority of their supply for Thursday's, January 13, scheduled walk-in clinic.
"We only have a small supply left, but if we would happen to run out on Thursday, we have ordered more," says Childs. The supply of FluMist nasal flu vaccine, she says, is still readily available for healthy individuals between five and 49 years old.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates for Virginia show the state had reported only localized instances of the flu as of January 1, although northern neighbors Maryland and Delaware were reporting "regional" and "widespread" outbreaks, suggesting the worst may be yet to come.
Immunizations are offered at the health department on Mondays and Thursdays, but with January 17 a federal holiday, the health department's next walk-in clinic (held between 8:30am and noon and between 1 and 4pm) will occur January 20, according to Childs.
Don Miller gets shot.
PHOTO BY JEANNE NICHOLSON SILER