About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Plenty of flu vaccine out there

We have an instant messaging system here at the newspaper which allows you to send a computer message to everyone in the newsroom. I used it this afternoon to ask my colleagues if they had seen any “flu shots available” signs in the region. 

Wallgreen’s on State Route 3 in Spotsylvania has posted signs in the grassy strip in front of the store, and I was curious about others. Judging by the responses I received, the signs are everywhere. Costco, CVS, Target and Rite Aid are offering flu shots. At the Walmart on U.S. 17 recently, they set up a special area inside the store to encourage customers to get their shots. 

Dr. Brooke Rossheim, director of the Rappahannock Area Health District, this morning confirmed what seems obvious, that the supply of influenza vaccine “is not projected to be an issue” this year. 

Dr. Tony Fiore

In addition, there will be only one shot this year. Last year health officials were recommending the seasonal flu shot and the H1N1 shot when that virus arrived. This year a portion of the formulation for the seasonal flu shot will be devoted to protecting against H1N1. 

So should you get a shot?  “Absolutely,” replied Dr. Tony Fiore this afternoon when I asked him that. 

Fiore, a family practitioner, said he’s not so worried about his patients  dying from the flu, though the flu kills thousands each year. What concerns him is that many of his patients have a condition that will make them sicker if they get the flu. “They may be cigarette smokers. They may have asthma. They may have diabetes,” he said. If those patients get the flu, they’ll miss a lot of work and may end up in the hospital or in the emergency room needing intravenous fluids. The shot will help avoid that, he said. “It’s such a safe, easy preventive measure,” he said. 

By the way, Fiore moved his practice in July to the new Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, where he is now an employee doctor. He had an office near Lake of the Woods for the last seven years. Now he’s in the Pogonia Medical Arts building beside the hospital.

Fiore said a “huge majority” of his patients have followed him to his new location. “That really makes my nurse and I proud,”  he said, “because it’s a bit of drive to come out here. We’re going to do our best to make it worth the trip.”

(For more about this year’s flu shot program, see the story  next week in the paper.)


  • TPKeller

    Can someone explain to me why there is no controversy over the H1N1 vaccine being included in this year’s shot, after the seeming uproar over questions about the safety of the H1N1 vaccine last year?