Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Health Officials Keep Doors Open to Give Vaccinations

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Health Officials Keep Doors Open to Give Vaccinations

Article excerpt

Health officials in St. Charles County are keeping their doors open longer each week so that flood victims and relief workers can get a vaccination to protect them against tetanus and diphtheria.

For three nights, starting tonight, the shot will be offered to the public from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the offices of the county Health Department, 305 North Kingshighway in St. Charles. Although more than 2,000 such shots have been given around the county since June, officials say that those St. Charles County residents who are still working - especially those who commute to St. Louis County - may not have had time to get vaccinated.

The shots will be available free, but donations will be accepted, said Alma Storzer, environmental health sanitarian with the county Health Department. She said the vaccines will be available to anyone who has not been vaccinated against tetanus and diphtheria within the last 10 years. In addition, any flood victims who have not had these shots within the last five years and who now have an open wound that could be contaminated by flood water should get the shot.

She said children who are current on their shots for school probably don't need any more vaccinations. Parents should check with their pediatricians before bringing the children in for shots, she said.

Storzer stressed that the department is not administering shots for hepatitis A, which is contracted from human waste. She said that decision is based on a recommendation from state health officials. Any sewage in flood water would be so diluted that there is almost no chance of picking up hepatitis A from it, the state says. She said someone would practically have to drink the flood water to have a chance of getting the disease.

Nancy Duncan, administrator of the county's nursing service, said she knew of no cases so far of tetanus or diphtheria that were flood-related. But she pointed out that there are many gastrointestinal illnesses that people can get from flood water, because of bacteria, viruses and parasites in the water. …

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