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Vaccine shortage shuts down FHN flu clinics
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FREEPORT - Due to a lack of vaccine, FHN has canceled all remaining public immunization clinics for seasonal influenza.

FHN has distributed, via public vaccine clinics and through its provider offices, all of its available seasonal influenza vaccine. This year's supply is less than normal because vaccine manufacturers were under government order to stop production of seasonal influenza vaccine and begin production of H1N1 vaccine, which is not yet available in Stephenson County.

"If more seasonal influenza vaccine becomes available to us, we will of course reschedule public clinics," said Robert Geller, MD, FHN's infectious disease specialist and vice president of medical affairs. "In the meantime, we encourage everyone to avoid the spread of flu by covering their coughs and sneezes and practicing good hand hygiene at all times, especially after sneezing or coughing. And most importantly, stay home if you feel ill. That remains the single best method of stopping the spread of both seasonal and H1N1 influenza virus."

FHN encourages seasonal flu shots. Since FHN providers don't have vaccine at this time, Geller recommends getting immunized at other locations such as drug stores or in-store pharmacies that may still have vaccine available. For more information on seasonal and H1N1 influenza, visit, the Stephenson County Health Department's Web site, or call the Illinois Flu Hotline toll-free 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (866) 848-2094 (English) or (866) 241-2183 (Spanish).