Flu Vaccine in Short Supply

The state is trying its best to make sure those who need it most can get it. The Florida Department of Health has instituted an emergency flu vaccine rule. It wants to make sure the vaccine is available across the state for those most vulnerable. The rule means local providers can transfer, shift, or sell vaccine to each other without going through the formal process of using a wholesaler.

Dr. Belinda Sorensen with the Florida Department of Health says, "The county health departments are a part of that at the local level of communication with the hospitals, with doctors in the community and finding out who has vaccine, who has more than they might need and who's willing to share and be able to assure that the most vulnerable get the vaccine."

Sorensen said that few counties in Florida have adult flu vaccine but reassured that all departments will receive vaccine for children. An immunization program specialist says Leon County is completely out of flu vaccine for adults at this time.

Health officials say that they do understand that the vaccine shortage causes concerns for the public but stress that if you are not at high risk of catching the flu you can be denied for a flu shot.

One Leon County nurse says that if you're not at risk for the flu, don't ask for the shot.

Ann Waltz with the Leon County Health Department says, “We urge you not to step forward and seek a vaccine but save it for folks who are perhaps your older family members or next door neighbor or young child in the community who really needs a vaccine."

Officials say that complying with the emergency rule in the long run should enable most people in Florida in need of the vaccine to get it. Florida health officials expect to get a supply of children's vaccine by next week.