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Hospital is hit by vaccine shortage

The sudden shortage of flu vaccine caught everyone by surprise, including staff at Enumclaw Community Hospital.

It was announced Oct. 6 that the maker of half the flu shot supply destined for the United States had been shut down, creating headlines across the country and prompting a notice from the local hospital.

"While our hospital was fortunate to obtain the flu vaccine from a different manufacturer, we anticipate community demands will exceed what hospitals in our state can provide," wrote ECH Administrator Dennis Popp in a prepared press release.

So the vaccine can be assured for the most vulnerable, the King County Health Department is now urging healthy people to skip vaccinations this year. The national Centers for Disease Control has identified the following groups as "high risk." Therefore, the Enumclaw hospital staff will be limiting their vaccine supply to: Children 6 to 23 months; adults 65 and older; those with underlying chronic medical conditions; women who will be pregnant during flu season; children on chronic aspirin therapy; health-care workers with direct patient care; residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities; out-of-home caregivers; and those living with someone receiving chemotherapy.

The hospital staff reminds everyone precautions can be taken during the cold and flu season. Always practice good hand-washing techniques, cover eyes and nose when coughing, and always use a tissue.The hospital notes it may alter its priorities and vaccination program based on guidelines provided by the Health Department or Centers for Disease Control.

Anyone wishing more information about Enumclaw Community Hospital's flu vaccination program can access the Health Information Line at 360-802-4007 for a recorded message.

In Black Diamond

Flu vaccines have been cancelled at the Black Diamond Community Center. There were 50 people signed up to receive shots, but the Visiting Nurse Service has had to back out, due to vaccine not being available.

Once they get an allocation, the vaccine will be reserved for those in the at-risk categories.

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