Local News

Hospitals, Health Departments Dealing With Flu Vaccine Shortage

Posted October 12, 2004 4:08 a.m. EDT

— A vaccine shortage has people scrambling to get shots. As a result, places that have them in stock are swamped.

The flu shot frenzy had hundreds of people showing up at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center on Friday.

"I wouldn't miss it for anything. I feel like that is what has helped me to get to be 90 years old," flu shot recipient Hattie Odom said.

With flu shots in short supply, hospital officials said they would only give the vaccine to those considered high-risk -- babies, seniors, and people with certain health concerns. The hospital required patients to have a doctor's note before getting the vaccine.

"We had a feeling it would be like this, but we're happy we have the vaccine. We're happy that we're giving it to the higher-risk group and we're happy that physicians in the area have cooperated," said Roxanne Leopper, of Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

Hospital officials say they have enough vaccine to keep giving flu shots. Three clinics are scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. However, officials are reminding everyone that those flu shots will go to those who need them.

Other county health departments said they have not found any additional vaccine. They said what they have is already designated. Orange County said it is on a waiting list for FluMist, the nasal vaccine for people ages 5 to 49.

Most counties have specific guidelines for who will get the available vaccinations, including children six to 23 months, adults 65 and older, people with chronic medical conditions and health care workers who have direct patient contact.