Free flu shot clinic offered for children

NASHUA – Concerns about the flu vaccination shortage are not hampering the children’s vaccination program, despite a shortage of immunizations for adults.

The Division of Public Health and Community Services is hosting a free clinic in two weeks to distribute the vaccine to children between the ages of six months and 23 months, as medical experts now recommend the shots for children as young as six months.

Stefan Russakow, director of the city’s Public Health Division, said most children will have already received vaccinations from their pediatricians, but this is an opportunity to offer the immunizations to children in the community who have not seen a doctor.

Pediatricians and public health departments are distributing the vaccines without the same worry revolving around the limited adult vaccinations, according to state and local officials.

Russakow said there has been little outcry from the community because most parents can get the vaccinations for their children.

Dr. William Kassler, the state medical director, said the shortage with the adult vaccinations is not related to the vaccinations for children because there are different allotments for the different immunizations.

The state ordered some 60,000 children vaccinations to distribute to medical providers and public health departments across the state, according to Kassler.

Some 3,850 doses were delivered to Nashua health care providers, according to state officials.

Last, year the city’s public health department distributed about 100 doses of the vaccine, Russakow said, but it was before new federal immunization guidelines for children.

According to state officials, the Nashua Health Department received 335 doses of pediatric flu vaccine to distribute this year.

The division has “sufficient stocks to meet anticipated need,” said Russakow.

The federal Centers for Disease Control expanded the flu shots to a broader category of young people this year. In the past, it was largely for children considered at higher risk because of existing health problems.

According to the CDC Web site, two medical studies revealed that healthy children under 2 years old had a higher risk of being hospitalized with complications from the flu than older, healthy children.

The clinic in Nashua will be on a first-come, first-served basis at St. Joseph Church, 777 W. Hollis St. The clinic on Dec. 3 will be open from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

More information will be available Monday on the Nashua Health Department hotline at 1-866-752-0535.