"There was plenty of flu vaccine produced this year," state epidemiologist David Blythe said in a statement. "If you find that your usual health care provider does not have the flu vaccine, check in with other community vaccinators, such as pharmacies or other health care providers to obtain the vaccine. We know that during this time of increased demand, you might have to call a few places to find the vaccine."

In the aftermath of the outbreak, health departments in Anne Arundel and Howard counties are holding additional free clinics to get people vaccinated. Two of the clinics will administer the FluMist nasal spray, which appears to have bigger supplies left than the shot because of use restrictions. The spray shouldn't be given to pregnant women, people with health problems or those allergic to chicken eggs.

Large numbers of flu cases prompted health officials in Boston to declare a state of emergency there. The Archdiocese of Boston told priests this week that they could suspend distributing communion wine from a shared chalice, The New York Times reported. They also recommended that they ask parishioners to bow instead of shaking hands to help cut down on spread of the flu.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore is not taking extra precautions, spokesman Sean T. Caine said. He said that the church takes precautions during every service to cut down on the spread of germs. Hand sanitizer is available to Eucharistic ministers who have the most contact with parishioners during Communion. Communion by cup is also optional, he said.

"All these are in effect throughout the year, not just during flu season," Caine said.



Free flu clinics

FluMist vaccinations

Where: Glen Burnie Health Center 416 A St., S.W.

When: Monday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

No appointment needed

FluMist clinic for children (ages 2 to 18)

Where: Columbia Health Center, 7180 Columbia Gateway Drive

When: Monday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

No appointment needed

Flu shots (6 months and older)

Where: Columbia Health Center, 7180 Columbia Gateway Drive

When: Thursday, Jan. 24, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

No appointment needed

Find flu vaccine availability near you at http://www.flu.go

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