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County Addresses Flu Vaccine Shortage

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EUGENE, Ore. — Lane County pharmacies are experiencing a flu vaccine shortage.

People all over our area headed the flu warnings and rushed out to get flu shots. The problem is most are now out and it’s unclear when new shipments will come in.

We spent most of the morning calling a couple dozen pharmacies around Lane County. Most say they are out. Some have the shot for people over 65.

We immediately called the health department and this was news to them, but late Thursday afternoon a temporary remedy seems to have been found and it has to do with the urgent care here.

Rite Aid, Safeway, Albertson’s, Fred Meyer, Costco, Walgreens and Bi-mart–the list goes on and on of places out or running out of the flu vaccine.

“Lots of phone calls, lots of people looking for a flu vaccine,” said Scott Davis, Bi-Mart Pharmacy Manager.

It seems word of the nationwide outbreak is sending people rushing to find the shot.

A lot of the vaccine is being diverted to the East and South where there’s a state of emergency. And January isn’t usually a time when pharmacies plan to have an abundance of stock.

“There’s a huge part of the population that’s under 65, and tomorrow we should have some of that vaccine available for them,” Scott Davis said.

“We haven’t seen a situation like this since the 2009-10 H1N1 crisis,” said Jason Davis, Lane County Health and Human Services spokesman.

After finding out about the shortage Thursday morning, Lane County Health and Human Services realized it was time to get all hands on deck. An emergency meeting was called, and an incident command center was set up.

“We got all of our public health officials together, our head of public health, Dr. Patrick Luedtke, various other public health officials,” Jason Davis said.

At the meeting, it was discovered there are only about 500 doses left spread out among Eugene and Springfield pharmacies. But it was also determined that there are about 2,000 available among the Eugene Urgent Care clinics. The shots cost $20, and the clinics do have pediatric doses available.

Davis says Lane County hasn’t hit its peak of this flu season. And everyone involved says if anything this situation has taught us one very important thing.

“When the flu shot becomes available in August, September, that’s really when you should get it,” Jason Davis said.

“The good thing is this year, it’s a very good flu strain as far as protection from the flu,” Scott Davis said.

There’s no need to panic, no need to go out and buy masks, just focus more on hand washing, coughing and sanitizing your work areas so we can stop the spread of the flu.

Lane County Health says if you want to still get the shot from your pharmacy, call before you go because there are only 500 doses spread out.

Again, your best bet is the urgent care clinic. They are ready, and they stay open pretty late.

An interesting statistic, there are only 120 million doses of the vaccine available nationwide to go around, so there was never enough to go around to begin with.

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  1. Postone says:

    The truth is, getting the flu shot doesn’t mean you won’t get the flu, even if it’s two weeks. Two weeks is typically the time it takes after getting the flu shot for it to be fully effective. But
    even then you can still get the flu. The flu shot may keep you from getting the strain (if they guess the strain right? Scientists give it an educated guess as to what strain to make the flu shot
    for) for any given season. They don’t always get it right, and they won’t know until around mid April or so) if they guessed right.The flu shot may also ease your symptoms if you get the flu,or it may not!

    Getting the flu shot is NO guarantee you won’t get the flu!

    There are many factors in getting the flu. Young children who’s immune system is “still growing” or getting stronger are more susceptible, because there immune systems are not peak yet.

    Children are veritable disease carriers, this is how their immune system builds immunities and becomes stronger! People who are at their peak, typically 25 to 45 years if otherwise healthy are least likely to get the flu and usually recover more quickly because there immune system is strongest. And finally people over the age of 50 have a declining immune system,which makes it more likely they get the flu and suffer longer.

    Of course there is an exception to every rule, nothing is set in stone.

    The are some important things you can to do to keep from contracting the flu. Washing your hands regularly, (scrubbing vigorously, because friction also kills germs) don’t touch door knobs and like surfaces and then touching your face because this is most likely way of getting a virus, any virus! Hand sanitizers do NOT replace hot water and soap, because hand sanitizers do NOT remove some oils that germs can hide under. Germs enter the body through your eyes, nose, and mouth. People touch their faces up to 2-4 times a minute, that’s up to 5,500 times a day! Some more and some less.

    So I while I would most definitely get a flu shot if I could, (especially anyone over 50) its not a cure all. Like I said above there are many factors in getting the flu and dealing with it if you do! The best way to fight the flu if you get it is bed rest, or taking it easy, drinking lots of fluids. Fluids meaning water or juice not soda, coffee or energy drinks!

    And in the end, finding a friend who can come over (although that would be a great friend who would expose themselves to the flu) and keep you company watch a movie, etc…..

    And finally don’t listen to the media hype about the flu or related viruses. Go to the CDC web site to get correct and up to date information or speak to your doctor! And for goodness sakes,
    don’t bring it to the office! There is no shame in missing a few days of work if you’re sick…

    And that H1N1 virus was never a problem or this deadly bug the lame stream media made it out to be! (Fear mongering to sell newspapers, or to get viewers) The regular flu kills directly and indirectly some 40 thousand people every year!

    H1N1 never even came close to that!

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