Flu shots few and far between - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flu shots few and far between

October 18, 2004

Albany - The flu shot shortage continues across the nation. Elderly and high risk people are on waiting lists and are determined to get immunized against the flu.

The flu vaccine shortage stems from a British company forced to cancel their shipment to America. In August, contamination was discovered at Chiron.

Now, America is down at least 45 million doses. Just as flu season is heating up, doctors' offices and clinics, all around the United States, are lacking flu shots.

Meet Andrew Shedrick. He laughs, "Sixty-six-years young." And in his 66 years, he's never caught the flu. He says, "No, never had the flu, never had the flu."

But, so far, this year Shedrick is stuck without a flu vaccine. He adds, "I usually take one every year, I'm running behind now."

Running behind schedule because of a nationwide shortage. In fact, nearly 100 people signed up to get a flu shot at the Senior Center in Albany, but that was canceled.

Flu shot shortages are also taking a toll on health care workers, they have to send hundreds a day right back out the door, including Jean Minor. She explains, "I had pneumonia and my doctor wanted me to get a flu shot." She says her doctor, "He didn't have any [flu shots]."

So, she tried the Dougherty County Health Department and to no surprise. Minor adds, "They are out of flu shots."

Minor is on a waiting list along with the determined Shedrick. He says, "I'm going to get one."

Both are considered at-risk for flu complications because of age and medical conditions.

For some, getting a flu shot is like eating a next meal, it's not a situation of want, but of need.

This month, both Albany hospitals will be giving flu shots to high-risk employees, who are workers who have direct contact with patients.

posted at 6:20PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com