Local pharmacy says response tremendous for flu shots

Published 2:05 pm Thursday, September 24, 2009

People in the Picayune area appear to ve taking the medical advice by doctors to get their regular flu shot early this year.

Meanwhile, the death toll from swine flu in Mississippi has hit seven with the death of a Jones County resident reported on Tuesday. It was the second death from swine flu in Jones County.

Tim Cuevas, Winn-Dixie’s pharmacy manager at the 801 U.S. Highway 11 South store, said they have been overwhelmed with residents coming in to get the regular flu shot.

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“We had so many that we ran out of shots, but we have reordered and replenished our stock and are still giving the shots. We had a tremendous response,” Cuevas said.

Winn-Dixie does not offer the shots at its North Picayune store on Sycamore Road. Cuevas is the only one at the two Winn-Dixie stores authorized to give the shots, and he is located at the South Picayune store.

Another pharmacy offering the shot in Picayune is Walgreens at two locations, 2209 U.S. Hwy. 11 North and 1505 Mississippi Highway 43 South.

Walgreens offers the shots from Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at both stores, said Sherrie Wilkinson, pharmacy manager.

CVS, 1701A Miss. Hwy. 43 North, will offer both flu and pneumonia shots on Oct. 7 and Oct. 12 from 3 to 7 p.m., said Krystal Stevenson, a pharmacist tech at the store.

All flu shots being offered right now are for the regular, or seasonal, flu.

Dr. James Riser of Riser Medical Associates said his office has seen cases of flu spread more into the adult population in the past few weeks. “It is more into the adult population,” he said.

Riser said his clinic will have the seasonal flu shots beginning Oct. 1 and is expected to receive H1N1 shots from the State Health Department about mid-October.

He said that last week his clinic treated about 75 patients and that one patient in five was an, which represents a decrease in pediatric patients. He said more mild cases are being treated at home with supportive care.

Medical authorities have urged residents to get their regular flu shot early this year so they will be ready to take the swine flu shots when they arrive in mid-October.

Riser said the distribution of flu cases is equally spread among area schools.

In other news, the number of confirmed cases of swine flu in Mississippi has risen to 898 with seven deaths, reported The Associated Press on Tuesday. However, officials said number represents only a fraction of the number of suspected cases reported.

Riser said that most of the cases occurring right now in the state are swine flu.

Symptoms of swine flu in humans are similar to those of seasonal flu, with fever, respiratory symptoms and body aches. According to the Health Department, many of the swine flu deaths nationwide were among people with pre-existing health conditions, reported the AP.