Up Next: Seasonal Flu

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

LANSING -- Officials at the Ingham County Health Department are in full swine flu vaccine mode.

The question that arises: Will the swine flu push make it harder to deal with regular seasonal flu down the line?

"We understand there is a chronic community shortage of seasonal flu vaccine right now," says Dr. Dean Sienko, director of the Ingham County Health Department.

In fact, the department has flat run out of regular influenza doses for adults. The vaccine's manufacturers, Sienko says, are simply too busy trying to keep up with the swine flu craze.

The only folks eligible for free seasonal flu vaccines in Ingham County now? Children ages 6 months to 35 months.

"I think we have a little time with seasonal flu vaccine, to be honest," Sienko says.

Robin Roach, the director of Infection Control at Sparrow Hospital, agrees that there's no rush -- yet: "So far, we haven't seen anyone with the seasonal flu"

In fact, health officials say the first cases of seasonal flu likely won't show up until December, when people group together for the holidays.

And when it does peak -- generally in February -- they say swine flu might actually help them combat the season strain more effectively.

"We've learned a great deal on how to handle large numbers of flu-like illness," Roach says. "And this knowledge and practice will carry over to seasonal influenza."

A bit of a comfort for a community already sick of the flu.

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