Public Bulletin on Influenza Vaccine

The national flu vaccine shortage announced this week has caused a
ripple of reaction on the Vineyard, and local visiting nurse services
and health agencies report a flood of telephone calls from concerned
residents, many of them elderly.

Public health officials said the shortage will affect the Vineyard,
but it is too early to say how much.

Joyce Capobianco, director of the Visiting Nurse Service for
Martha's Vineyard Community Services, said this week that regular
announcements will go out as information becomes available. For now, Ms.
Capobianco said all Vineyard clinics that administer the flu vaccine
will be affected by the restrictions outlined by the state department of
public health. Vaccines will be made available to people who are 65 or
older, and to people with chronic illnesses or compromised immune

Nurses at Community Services administer flu clinics in five of the
six Vineyard towns through the town boards of health. The town of Oak
Bluffs also offers a flu clinic using a separate visiting nurse agency.

Ms. Capobianco advised Vineyard residents to take common sense
precautions with the approach of the coming influenza season, including
frequent hand washing and avoiding exposure to other people who are

"People should be prepared for a limitation on the
vaccine," she said.