The Centers for Disease Control is sending another 74-thousand doses of the scarce flu vaccine to Iowa between now and the end of January. Iowa Department of Public Health spokesman Kevin Teale says they’ll work with counties to get the vaccine to the areas where it’s needed the most. He says the C-D-C estimates there are some 900-thousand Iowans who’re classified as high-risk. Teale says even in a normal year, they don’t vaccinate that many high-risk people. He says they’ve gotten 450-thousand doses already, and even with the additional doses, they won’t have enought to vaccinate all high-risk Iowans. Teale says the flu vaccine shortage has led to some long lines at clinics — but he says overall Iowans have handled it well. He says county health departments and health providers have receive many anxious phone calls. Despite the high anxiety, he says they haven’t seen the tremendous problems with lines or the theft of flu vaccine that other states have seen. Teale says the Health Department has yet to see the first case of flu here. He says several surrounding states have reported scattered cases of the flu, so it’s likely to hit Iowa in the next couple of weeks. He says that would be a little early as the normal flu season doesn’t usually start until near Christmas. There are some reports that the flu season might not be as potent this season. Teale says it’s still too early to tell. He says the flu viruses move around the world, and the southern hemisphere is just wrapping up its flu season. He says their flu season was milder than usual — which could be an indicator of the flu season in Iowa — but he says it’s still too early to tell. Teale says even if you don’t get a flu shot, you can help prevent the flu by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, washing your hands frequently.
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