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Flu shots available

REGION – Cough, sneeze, sniffle, sniffle, cough. It’s the natural melody of winter.

But the Alabama Department of Public Health is doing its job to put an end to the infamous winter musical.

The Department recently received an additional 20,000 doses of influenza vaccine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to distribute to the state’s county health departments.

“We are pleased that we can now vaccinate and help protect more people from influenza,” state health officer Dr. Donald Williamson said. “In Alabama, influenza usually peaks during the months of January and February, and so it’s not too late to be immunized.”

Although none of the additional vaccines have been distributed to Marengo, Hale and Perry counties, western Black Belt representatives said they have plenty of vaccines available to help residents fight the sickness.

“I don’t know if I am going to get any,” Marengo Health Department clinic coordinator Sharon Cooke said. “But we probably won’t have any more clinics, because there aren’t many people calling about them.”

Even though Cooke estimated giving flu shots to more than 1,200 people since Oct. 1, she said last week’s clinic only brought about 20 patients.

“We’re just not having as many people calling about them,” Cooke said.

With a contrasting situation, Hale County Health Department office manager Cindy Crawford said they had to get another shipment of vaccines for the office after the department held a clinic Monday afternoon.

“We had to get some more for today,” Crawford said. “We still have people calling for appointments.”

Crawford said the clinic was able to provide shots for 59 people from 8 a.m. to noon Monday and the office still has enough vaccines to go around.

“There’s no shortage here,” she said.

Perry County office manager Faye Suttle said the Perry Health Department has held four clinics since October.

“We had one in October and three in November,” Suttle said. “We’ve served almost 600 people since the one in October.”

Like the neighboring departments, Suttle said the Perry County Health Department has “plenty” of vaccines for its residents.

The Marengo office is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to distribute flu vaccines. Hale residents can make appointments Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8 a.m., 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. to receive the vaccines and Perry citizens can visit their local health department Monday and Thursday at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Appointments are necessary at all offices to receive the vaccine.

For more information on preparing for flu season, contact your health care provider or county health department. Information is also available at www.adph.org/ immunization.