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Flu vaccine shortage reported as sniffles spread

January 15, 2013|By David Lazarus
  • Drugstores are reporting shortages of flu vaccines in some states because of the severe flu season.
Drugstores are reporting shortages of flu vaccines in some states because… (NewBedfordGuide.com )

Finally ready for a flu shot? First of all, what took you so darn long? Second, you might need a little patience.

CVS Caremark and Rite Aid say they're running out of flu vaccines in some states as the unusually severe flu season drives up demand.

In California, at least, it still looks like there's plenty of vaccine to go around.

Forty-seven states are now experiencing widespread flu. That has resulted in more people making a beeline to pharmacies and doctors’ offices in search of a cure.

"We are aware there are spot shortages, but if you seek it out you should be able to find it," Curtis Allen, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Bloomberg News. "There has been a lot of attention to the severity of the season and therefore people are seeking out the vaccine because we are in the middle of a season that is moderate to severe."

Drug makers produced 135 million doses of the vaccine this year and had distributed 128.1 million as of Jan. 4, the CDC reported. At least 112 million people -- about 40% of those eligible -- have gotten a flu shot this season.

Many people believe that getting a flu shot increases their chances of getting sick. Experts say this is bunk. There's no live virus in a flu shot, so it can't infect you.

Look at it like this: You'd probably appreciate it if someone else didn't make you sick. Getting a flu shot is your way of returning the favor.

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