Flu vaccine supply exhausted - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flu vaccine supply exhausted

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December 12, 2003

Lee County-- If you haven't gotten your flu shot, you are out of luck. Southwest Georgia District Health Director Paul Newell says, "It looks like we are just going to run out this year." People are scrambling to find the few remaining doses in South Georgia.

The flu has hit all 50 states, and the season has not yet peaked. People are lined up in some cities, waiting three hours to get shots. But, the vaccine is running out everywhere. Health departments are crowded and some doctor's offices are turning away people.

Lavonda Waters is one lucky mom, "I'm lucky she is able to get the flu shot and protect her against it." Six-month-old Rashida doesn't feel so lucky, though. She doesn't particularly like getting the flu shot. But, what she doesn't know is that she is one of the fortunate few to get one.

Dr. Newell says, "I think that some of the county health departments have a few doses left, but they have been disappearing fairly rapidly."

Southwest Georgia's District Health Director says when the flu vaccine runs out, that's it. Right now, health department waiting rooms like the one in Lee County simply aren't packed with people looking for shots. That's because the remaining supplies have already been allocated, "So, priorities? Now people over 65. Up until a couple days ago we were saying people 50 and older, but again as supplies have shrunk we've had to restrict the supply of vaccine."

Also the very young--like Rashida--are considered flu shot priorities, and those at high risk.

Waters says, "Well, I would much rather be safe then sorry." Rashida's mom is happy she got her daughter the flu shot just in time.

More than 100,000 adult doses of the flu vaccine will be rushed across the country to combat widespread shortages. An additional 150,000 flu shots for children will be sent to the states by January. Southwest Georgia will likely get only a handful of those extra supplies.

Posted at 3:36 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com