Hundreds Finally Get Flu Shot, Others Can Call To Join Waiting List - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/24/04-Tyler

Hundreds Finally Get Flu Shot, Others Can Call To Join Waiting List

It's been priority number one for many East Texans -- getting a flu shot that might save their lives. In Smith County, thousands of people at-risk for complications have pleaded with doctors and other health care workers.   But because of the nationwide shortage, vaccine is hard to come by.

"It's very important at my age. I certainly wouldn't want to have the flu if I can get around it," says one woman waiting at the Northeast Texas Public Health District flu clinic Wednesday.

Getting around the flu means waiting in line.

"I've waited for different things all my life, so I just assume sit here and wait," said a 90-year-old senior, waiting for her shot.

Folks who called into the Northeast Texas Public Health District to get vaccinated finally can breathe easier.

Janice Thomas, R.N., Director of Nursing for the NETPHD: "It's been wild. I don't know how many we've had because we haven't been able to keep up with them."

The wait can sometimes be a while, but it's more than worth it this year.

"If you get [the flu] and you get complications from it, you can die. And those people who are at risk are more prone to complications," Thomas says.

The District says they'll vaccinate everyone they can, so long as they can keep getting the vaccine, which has been trickling in.

"No, we still don't have enough. This is a thousand doses that we get now, and hopefully we'll get more in a couple more weeks," she says.

It's Don Russell's 73rd birthday, and he says the shot is a great present... one of good health.

"I called in the day before yesterday, and the first thing I got [was the NETPHD saying] 'We'll call you back in two to four weeks,' and they called back yesterday, one day later, so here we are this morning. It's a great birthday present," he says.

To get on the list to get a flu shot in Smith County, call the Northeast Texas Public Health District at  (903) 535-0028. 

They will be closed for thanksgiving, but will be taking calls Friday.

Reported by Morgan Palmer. 

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