By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer
There are obvious signs fall has arrived in Clovis — the turning of leaves and cooler temperatures.
Fall is also the onset of flu season.
The New Mexico Department of Health has sent its first shipment of 10,000 adult flu shots to public health offices and long-term care facilities and is shipping 7,000 children’s flu shots to public health offices and private providers, according to a department news release.
Bill Bargman, Albertsons Supermarket manager, said the store received 120 flu and pneumonia shots, which were administered to residents Monday. Bargman said approximately 70 percent of the shots were influenza vaccines. The Clovis grocery store expects to receive one more shipment, but Bargman said he is uncertain about the exact date.
Manufacturers have not informed the health department when to expect the next shipment of flu shots, according to the press release.
The Department of Health ordered about 198,000 doses of flu shots this year, which is approximately 70,000 more than it distributed last year, according to the press release.
“We are the safety net for people in New Mexico who can’t get their flu shot anywhere else,” Health Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham said in the release. “For the past two years we (Department of Health) have increased our flu shot order to make sure we can protect people who are most vulnerable from flu complications.”
High-risk individuals include people who are 65 and older, nursing home residents, those with chronic heart or lung conditions, people with lowered immune systems (including HIV), pregnant women, children on aspirin therapy and anyone with compromised respiratory function.
This year the Federal Center for Disease Control has expanded the high-risk category to include children between the ages of 24 months and 5 years. Household contacts and caregivers of children under 6 months old are also encouraged to receive the vaccine.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 20 percent of the population gets the flu while more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications annually.
The single best way to prevent contracting the virus is by getting a flu vaccination each fall, according to the CDC. The “flu shot” is an inactivated virus (containing killed virus) given by a needle.