Fairfield Ledger

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 21, 2016

Board reports flu season is beginning

CDC pulls nasal mist vaccine due to ineffectivness
By BRYCE KELLY Golden Triangle News Service | Sep 29, 2016

MT. PLEASANT (GTNS) – With fall well on it’s way and a recent dip in temperatures, local health officials are gearing up for yet another flu season.

During Tuesday’s Henry County Board of Health meeting, Community Health Director, Travis Johnson, reviewed Henry County Health Center’s recent work with regards to flu shots, saying already this year, the health center isn’t giving out as many vaccines as it was at this time several years ago.

“Flu season is just getting started and last year we saw a fairly significant dip in the number of shots we gave out,” Johnson said. “And in the first few flu shot clinics we have hosted this year, our numbers are lower. But, I wouldn’t say that means fewer people are getting vaccinated. Rather, I think more people are.”

According to Johnson, due to the flu vaccines being offered at more facilities such as local pharmacies and drug stores, the amount of vaccines HCHC is giving out has seen a decline in the last couple of years. However, Johnson said the fact that flu vaccines are more accessible is a positive thing overall.

“In all honesty, we just want people to be getting vaccinated. Where they get vaccinated for the flu is less important to us,” he said.

And while Johnson says HCHC’s policies and practices for vaccines and vaccination clinics are going to remain relatively the same this year, he did say, “This year, the major thing that has been an adjustment for us has been to do with FluMist, the nasal flu vaccine. The CDC has now come out and said not to use it, so our health department is complying with that,” he said. “We won’t be using it for kids or for adults.”

Although the reason for the ineffectiveness of the nasal spray flu vaccine is still mostly unknown, the CDC has conducted research, which shows that the traditional flu shot delivers a higher level of protection than the nasal spray is able to do. And while research on how to better improve the nasal spray vaccine is still ongoing, for now, the CDC recommends only the flu shot be given.

More information regarding HCHC’s vaccination policies and clinic hours may be obtained by visiting www.hchc.org or calling 319-385-6724.

Turning the attention to other matters, the board heard from Jodi Sutter, Henry County’s Environmental Health Specialist, who gave the board a report on an ongoing food safety project. As part of an ongoing work project, Sutter has been obtaining all the materials needed to teach an eight-hour food safety certification course in the county.

“As soon my schedule allows, I should be getting classes scheduled for this fall,” said Sutter. “I already have had a lot of good feedback and a lot of folks calling who are interested in those classes, which is good.”

As of right now, Sutter is still unsure where she will hold the safety courses, but says she has several ideas. She says she is also still figuring the exact cost of the course.

Additionally from Sutter, she reported that she has now completed all of this year’s tanning, tattoo and swimming pool inspections that are required.

Before moving into closed session, the board also approved a subcontract with Washington County for the Maternal Child and Adolescent Health program.

The next Henry County Board of Health meeting will be held at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at HCHC.

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