LISBON — Some elderly residents who relied on the Columbiana County Health Department for their flu shots will have to go elsewhere this year.
Nursing director Barb Knee advised members of the county General Health District Board on Wednesday that the Ohio Department of Health is focusing more on children this year and recommending they only provide shots to high-risk adults if they have no health insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare.
She said the state is still recommending those residents 65 years of age or older and those who are at-risk due to medical conditions to get flu shots.
“Just not here,” Health Commissioner Robert Morehead said.
Last year, the county health department received 800 flu doses from the state at a cost of 50 cents per dose and administered 572 of those doses for free. Knee told board members they could contract with a private company for flu vaccine if they wanted and then bill Medicare for the seniors, but board chairman Dr. Jack Amato said that would be cost prohibitive to set up since they have no mechanism now to bill Medicaid. He suggested letters be sent to area doctors so they know not to refer patients to the health department for flu shots. He also said they might want to contact their regular patients who came to the board for flu shots.
During his commissioner’s report, Morehead reminded residents to take care around raccoons and wild animals due to the risk of rabies, with extra care suggested now due to an apparent shortage of the rabies shot needed for people bitten by a raccoon.
He explained that a man feeding a raccoon on state Route 164 south of Lisbon was bitten and had to be convinced to seek medical care, but when he went for help, the facility where he went had just two of the five doses required. They’re trying to find more of the vaccine so he can have the treatment within the required 21-day period.
he raccoon wasn’t found, so it wasn’t known if it had rabies or not.
Morehead called the shortage of doses inexcusable, but said the problem should be rectified by the end of July. In the meantime, he said residents need to use extra caution.
In other business, the board:
¯ issued board orders for Ronald Potts, of 31293 Speidel Road, Hanoverton, to remove all tires and burned waste from his property after a violation for open dumping and burning of tires and solid waste.
¯ approved a variance for Otto Jankus to drill a new well on a Sycamore Street property in Beloit 41 feet from the septic system, which is less than the required 50 feet; the previous well, which was shallow, dried up when Lake Placentia was drained.
¯ declared a house at 1004 Liberty Street in Perry Township uninhabitable at the request of the Perry Township Trustees; the vacant property was owned by Donald J. or Katie M. Robinson of Oyster Road, Alliance.