Flu vaccine shortage felt locally

By Greg Gelpi

Local residents are starting to feel the shortage of flu vaccinations.

Police were called to the Kroger grocery store on Ga. Highway 138 in Stockbridge when several customers grew upset after learning the store ran out of vaccines.

"We received a limited supply of the vaccine this week," said Glynn Jenkins, the director of communications and public relations for Kroger. "At this time, we don't expect any more."

Jenkins said the Stockbridge location had received 50 doses of the vaccine in its initial shipment and recently received a second shipment of about 50 more doses.

Those looking for the flu vaccine are urged to call area Kroger locations before going to check availability and ask if appointments are required, he said.

Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said police responded to Kroger, but didn't make any arrests. One person had been vocal about the shortages, but left by the time police arrived.

Despite the shortages, most people have been "disappointed, but gracious," said Sheryl Taylor, a spokeswoman with the Clayton County Board of Health.

Stephen Morgan, the district health director for the board of health, offered advice for those who aren't able to get a flu shot.

"In keeping with the (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines, vaccinating is not the only way to prevent the flu," Morgan said. "The following simple actions can help you prevent getting sick: if possible avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay home when you are sick, when you cough or sneeze cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and wash hands before you touch your eyes, nose and mouth."

The vaccine shortage occurred because a British maker was unable to supply millions of doses to the U.S. Across the nation, there have been long lines and allegations of price gouging.

The Clayton College & State University 2004 Flu Shot Campaign will begin Tuesday for those who haven't received a flu shot by then. Shots are $10 per student, $12 for Clayton State faculty and staff and $15 for the public.

About 130 flu shots will be available for those age 18 and older in the Student Center Food Court from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Flu shots will also be given in the Student Center Faculty Dining Room from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Shots will be available by appointment, beginning Thursday, in the University's Nurse Managed Clinic, room 207 of the Student Center.

For more information, call the Nurse Managed Clinic at (770) 961-3459.