Monday, December 22, 2014

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Flu Vaccine in Short Supply

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Rochester: Flu Vaccine in Short Supply
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Experts recommend that if you haven't gotten the flu vaccine yet, you still should. But before you go, check ahead. Many places have very little vaccine left, it any at all.

This year, the flu came on fast and furious, filling up emergency rooms and doctor's offices with patients. Thousands of people across the country who had delayed or never planned on getting that flu vaccine headed out to finally get one last week.

And that's why this week, many places that administer the shot, like Wegmans pharmacies, are out of supply.

"Currently, most of our stores are out. We are out," said Dick Standish, pharmacist at the Wegmans Latta Road pharmacy.

Last year, pharmacists at the Latta Road pharmacy administered about three to four flu vaccines a day. This year, that number was about 10 to 12.

In an effort to get as many people as possible immunized a few years ago, New York state began allowing trained pharmacists to administer the flu shot to adults. Over the weekend, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a Public Health Emergency in New York because of the severe flu season we're having and issued an executive order to now allow pharmacists to give that shot to patients under the age of 18.

The problem is now finding the shot. We called around to several other area pharmacies and they told us they either didn't have any vaccine left or are about to run out.

Typically, there is a lot less vaccine this time of year, and it's too late for pharmaceutical companies to start making new batches.

Wegmans spokesperson Jo Natale tells YNN that a new vaccine order has just arrived at its distribution center and will soon go out to stores around New York State. But that supply is limited.

Pharmacists say many stores do have Tamiflu in stock. It's an antiviral drug taken to help ease some of the symptoms of the flu and the company says can help prevent someone from contracting the virus if he or she has been exposed.

While it may be late in the season, experts still recommend getting the vaccine. Just call ahead and make sure your pharmacy or doctor has it.

"It is in short supply but if you do find it, by all means, get it," said Standish. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP