Demand tasks supply of seasonal flu shots

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Concerns about contracting the novel influenza A H1N1 virus have created a higher demand for seasonal flu shots, some area health care professionals have noted. The demand, in some cases, has exceeded the number of doses available.

The Richmond County Health Department ran out of seasonal flu vaccines less than two weeks after administering the first dose, said clinical nursing director Teresa Catlett. The department has doled out 1,500 shots since flu clinics opened Sept. 21, Ms. Catlett said.

"Our demand has tripled this year compared to last year," she said. "Most people would not have received the shot until mid-October, but they are starting early this year."

In some cases, patients are experiencing flulike symptoms earlier this season, but much of the demand is due to a greater awareness of the virus, said Terrence Cook, an Augusta physician. The Georgia Division of Public Health has distributed the vaccine slowly and sparingly over the past couple of months in spite of the high demand, Dr. Cook said.

"They have sent a few bottles here, and a few bottles there," he said. "It's very unnerving."

Dr. Cook's office has administered 200 flu shots since late August, and was out of the vaccine for two weeks. About 100 doses were delivered Wednesday, but keeping a sufficient amount of the vaccine is still a concern, Dr. Cook said. "We thought we'd be safe by ordering a significant quantity, but we're not receiving nearly enough for our patients that we see."

The rush to create and distribute the H1N1 vaccine has put a delay on producing the seasonal flu vaccine, Ms. Catlett said. Though patients are concerned about H1N1, the demand for the seasonal flu vaccine still exists. Ms. Catlett said she is unsure when the state will deliver additional doses to the Augusta area.

"We've got 15 to 20 businesses on a waiting list to get flu shots," she said. "We have no idea when we will be able to give them out again."

Walgreens on Whiskey Road in Aiken had only 20 doses of the vaccine available by Wednesday afternoon, said pharmacist Susan Dougherty. The drugstore will receive a shipment of the vaccine by today. Mrs. Dougherty said she has administered more than 1,200 flu shots since Sept. 1.

"We give out about 50 to 60 shots per day," she said. "The response has been overwhelming this year versus last year."

The Walgreens pharmacy at 4380 Jefferson Davis Highway in Clearwater had only 40 doses of the seasonal flu vaccine left Wednesday night that had not been scheduled for appointments, said pharmacist Jim Riddle.

"We probably burn through 20 to 30 vaccines a day," Mr. Riddle said. "I'm told that once we're out, we're out for the season."

Kroger pharmacies in Augusta and Aiken have remained busy but continued to have the vaccine in stock. Alan Kaufman, pharmacist at the grocery store's Whiskey Road location, said between 20 and 40 flu shots are disbursed daily.

"We've administered a lot, because of the swine flu scare," he said. "We have plenty of shots available."

The Kroger pharmacy on Washington Road has not seen an influx of flu shot recipients, said pharmacist Christie Curry.

Gary Ikens, who received a flu shot at Walgreens on Wednesday, said he would have waited later in the month to get his annual flu shot, but he decided to take care of it earlier out of convenience.

"There's been so much publicity about (H1N1)," he said. "I think that's got people running out to get the shots."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or



Cost: $24.99

In Aiken: 2191 Whiskey Road; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday

In Clearwater: 4380 Jefferson Davis Highway; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday

In Evans: 4310 Washington Road; limited supply available by walk-in or appointment


Cost: $25

Where: 802 E. Martintown Road, Suite 170

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 28


Cost: $25

In Aiken: 1795 Whiskey Road; 2-4 p.m. Friday

In Augusta: 2801 Washington Road; times vary

In Evans: 4355 Washington Road; 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday-Friday

In Martinez: 4115 Columbia Road; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday


Cost: $25

Where: Aiken Kalmia Mall Plaza, 1680 Richland Ave. West

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. today, Oct. 15, Oct. 24


ATLANTA --- More than a third of parents don't want their kids to get the swine flu vaccine, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.

Some parents say they are concerned about side effects -- even though nothing serious has turned up in tests -- and others say swine flu is no greater health threat than seasonal flu.

The AP poll found 38 percent of parents said they were unlikely to give permission for their kids to be vaccinated at school.

On Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appealed for widespread inoculation against swine flu.

The AP poll, conducted Oct. 1-5, found 72 percent of those surveyed are worried about side effects.

Overall, only 52 percent of Americans say they're likely to get the vaccine.

-- Associated Press

Comments (7) Add comment
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xanadu 10/08/09 - 07:47 am
excuse me but is this not the

excuse me but is this not the same flu they were screaming about back in March? we were told back then about the big 'epidemic' that was going to happen with this particular strain. that was six months ago. why wasn't the vaccinne being produced back then? why wait til now to press the panic button if they knew for six months about it? this is either pee-poor planning on someone's part or it's all a bunch of hype in the first place.

Mr. Thackeray
Mr. Thackeray 10/08/09 - 08:06 am
Okay, How is it possible that

Okay, How is it possible that people who spend their whole life with words would say "Demand TASKS" rather than TAXES supply?

xanadu 10/08/09 - 08:07 am
the same bunch who let the

the same bunch who let the misspelled word 'board' for 'bored' get printed in the paper. the proofreaders are on strike, i think.

soldout 10/08/09 - 09:24 am
for another view on the

for another view on the vaccine you can check or

soldout 10/08/09 - 01:23 pm
•A study published in the

•A study published in the October 2008 issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu had no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons.

The researchers concluded that "significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting" examined.

•A 2008 study published in the Lancet found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people.

This supports an earlier study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

•Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia in the elderly, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 10/08/09 - 02:22 pm
Doctors such as Dr. Cook who

Doctors such as Dr. Cook who sell seasonal flu vaccine shots in August are taking their patients' money for little or no benefit. A shot taken in August or September will have little or no immunity left when the seasonal flu peaks in February. It is better to get the seasonal flu shot in November or early December for maximum protection.

Simondale88 10/08/09 - 10:38 pm
I had a great time reading

I had a great time reading around your post as I read it extensively. I am looking forward to hearing more from you.


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