SOUTH LAKE TAHOE - Barton Memorial Hospital received notice from the Nevada State Health Division announcing a delay and shortage in this year's influenza vaccine supply.
The shortage was also announced by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The CDC requested that vaccine providers develop a plan to maximize vaccination of high-risk persons and health care workers.
"In response to the notice from the CDC, Barton Memorial Hospital presently will provide influenza vaccines to high-risk persons only. High-risk is defined as persons who are over 65, immunocompromised or those who have certain chronic conditions. Patients must provide proof of age. For those who have chronic conditions, a letter from their physician is required," said Norma Corder, BMH Public Relations Director.
"The shortage has also required us to change our Barton HealthCare System Community Flu Shot Program. On Oct. 7, during the Community Health Fair at the Carson Valley Medical Center in Gardnerville, and at Barton Memorial Hospital, South Lake Tahoe, we will only inoculate high-risk persons," said Corder. The Carson Valley Medical Center Community Health Fair is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and the Barton Memorial Hospital flu shot program is from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Corder also said, "Healthcare workers who might spread the flu to high-risk patients will be eligible immediately for the influenza vaccine." As the vaccine becomes available, Barton Memorial Hospital will provide the flu shot for healthy people over age 18 and others who want to be vaccinated.
"It is a good year to think about ways to avoid the flu. Wash your hands frequently, get plenty of rest and eat right," said Corder. For updated information on the influenza vaccine program, call the BMH Health Fair Hotline at 782-1500, ext. 3380 or (530) 542-3000, ext. 3380.