Despite cancelled flu shot clinics, there is no shortage of vaccine

Friday, October 28th 2005, 10:21 am
By: News On 6

Reports of cancelled flu shot clinics have some wondering if we're facing another vaccine shortage. Tulsa City-County Health workers say there's nothing to worry about. The

News on 6's Heather Lewin explains why.

Janice Sheehan with the Tulsa City-County Health Department: “We want everyone that wants a flu vaccine to get it this year." But if adults go to the health department now, you'll be turned away.

Earlier this week, flu shot seekers flocked to the free drive up clinic and used up the entire supply of the department's available vaccine. Still, health workers say the notice on the door is not a sign that you should panic.

Last year's flu shots were mainly restricted to those most at risk, the elderly and chronically ill. But that's because manufacturers simply weren't making enough of the vaccine. This year there's plenty to go around. Health officials say that's why they temporarily ran out.

Because this year free shots were open to everyone, there was an unexpected turnout. The department gave out more than 11,000 shots in just a week and a half. "We're expecting a shipment of about 8,000 more doses and we will get it as the weeks go by, they just don't ship it out all at once, but there is plenty of vaccine and it is going to get here in plenty of time."

Sheehan says despite recent rumors, we are not facing a repeat of last year's dire straits. "There is plenty of vaccine being manufactured, there is nothing wrong with the vaccine none of the manufacturers have had any problems this year."

Care providers at the Visiting Nurse Association, which cancelled the rest of its flu shot clinics are concerned about a possible shortage because their last two shipments were cancelled, but they also say they've already given out more than they normally do all season.

Clinics that charge for flu shots, like Pic-Med say they are well stocked.

Also free shots for children are still available at the Tulsa City-County Health Department.