Alterations likely in Madison Co. free flu shot program

While flu shots are still free, budget cuts have cut out the convenience of the shots coming to you. (Source: WAFF file)
While flu shots are still free, budget cuts have cut out the convenience of the shots coming to you. (Source: WAFF file)

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - The Madison County Health Department getting hit two ways.

Production issues have led to fewer flu vaccines to go around, and budget cuts are affecting how they get them out to the public.

We got several calls with questions on where to find the free flu shot clinics the Madison County Health Department hosts every year.

While flu shots are still free, budget cuts have cut out the convenience of the shots coming to you. Ultimately, you will probably have to go down to the county office to get them - and prepare for a wait.

In past years, the county health department has held flu shot clinics at about eight different sites. This year, that won't happen. There's simply not enough staff to make it possible this year.

On top of that, the department received about 500 less flu vaccines than last year. They only have about 2,500 to give out for free.

Blame that on less state funding to buy vaccines that have only gone up in price, hence less to go around.

The Madison County Commission recently cut the health department's budget down $200,000.

The result - four positions that will have to stay vacant - two that already are unfilled, and two positions that, once vacated, will stay that way. Another hurdle: less convenience for folks who don't live in the metro area.

"Our numbers of services will probably remain the same, but the convenience of those services, where you get them, how you get them or how fast you get them may be affected," said Director Dr. Lawrence Robey. "We're hoping that it won't affect the health of the community, but people will have to bear with us if they are not getting services quite in the same way as they got them before."

The health department is hoping to begin administering those free flu shots by next Tuesday.

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