Heartland Stuck With Flu Shot Shortage Again

Now that flu season is underway, many of people are trying to get flu shots. But not all Heartland health departments have enough of the vaccine to go around. So how long could you be waiting?Some county health departments say you could be waiting a few more weeks. Many of them only have enough flu vaccine to give to people who are at high risk of getting the flu, others don't have any at all.

Amy Hector, a nurse at the Mississippi County Health Department says, "I hate to have to tell those people we still don't have it." The bad news is, they don't know when they'll get more. The box where the flu vaccines should be at the Mississippi County Health Department is empty, and it may stay empty for a while. Hector says, "It's not necessarily a shortage, we're getting all our vaccine in, it's just a delay in when we can receive it." It may be just a delay, but it's something that's happening every year. Health departments would like to have the vaccines in October, so they can start giving the shots before November. That's not always the case though. Last year, the Mississippi County Health Department didn't get the shots until December. The long delays leave people wondering what's next. "We receive probably 50 phone calls a day wanting to know if we've gotten it in yet," Hector says. With fewer manufacturers and increasing demand, the supply just isn't there for anybody at anytime.

It's not just a problem in Mississippi County. It's happening all over the Heartland. Charlotte Craig with the Cape County Health Department was quoted Thursday as saying they've never gotten the vaccine this late. Some counties in Southern Illinois are also low, and in Kentucky, most counties don't have any of the vaccine.