By Ron VandenBoom
People who have been putting off getting their flu shot because of a shortage of serum at the Hill County Health Department can now breathe easy thanks to the recent delivery of a fresh batch.
Five hundred doses of the valuable serum were received Thursday bringing the current total to about 700, said Cindy Smith, Hill County Health Nurse.
Smith said the addition of 500 doses means there is now plenty of vaccine to meet the community's needs and the Health Department will be able to accept walk-in patients starting today.
"But be prepared for a line if you're a walk-in," Smith said.
The Health Department has been experiencing a shortage of the vaccine recently due to delays in manufacturing.
Smiths said in November that she believed the manufacture took longer this year to meet the demand because "they wanted to make sure they had enough protection in the serum before they got it out to us."
The shortage forced Smith to closely regulate how much of the serum was disbursed and to whom.
Smith established a priority schedule and call list for people considered high risk. These included the elderly and those with long-term health problems such as heart disease, lung disease, asthma, kidney disease, diabetes, and anemia.
Smith said people on the list who have made prior arrangements will be given priority, but there is plenty of serum to go around.
On Tuesday, Dec. 12, Smith said the department will be giving shots at the North Montana Senior Center and there will be a shortage of shot-givers at the Health Department.
On any other day shots will be given at the Health Department Office in the basement of the Hill County Courthouse from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and from 1:30-4:30 p.m.
The cost of a vaccination is $10 and the cost is covered for people eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Some insurance companies will also reimburse the cost of the shot.
For more information call the Health Department at 265-5481.