The Texas State Department of Health Services reports spot shortages of flu vaccine now that the illness is considered widespread.
“Some locations have run out or are running low,” said Chris Van Deusen, an agency spokesman.
For instance, in Seguin on Monday, the state’s clinic reported a ready supply, while a local CVS Pharmacy advertising flu shots was almost out, but was expecting another shipment by the end of the day, like the nearby Walgreen’s that had none to give.
“Best advice, call ahead,” said Van Deusen, starting with your physician or health clinic.
Patricia Allen, of Seguin, the manager of a local nonprofit, said she did just that a couple of weeks ago.
“They said they had been out since November,” Allen said.
Allen said CVS had a long line at the time, but Walgreen’s had plenty so she got her shot there.
“I was getting worried,” Allen said.
She said her elderly mother already had been sick for two weeks.
“I was concerned about bringing something home from the public to her,” Allen said.
However, Van Deusen said there is no reason to panic over the flu vaccine supply.
“As far as the State of Texas and across the U.S., the word from manufacturers and from the Centers for Disease Control is that there is plenty of vaccine available,” Van Deusen said.
Still, several people in Seguin said they had no plans to get a flu shot after hearing people who had still gotten sick.
“It’s a popular myth,” said Van Deusen. “The flu shot is made with dead virus that triggers the body’s immune system.”
He said it does take two weeks to reach full immunity, so it may be they fell ill before then.
Van Deusen said five flu deaths have been reported among children since last November, the three youngest ages six and nine, and two teenagers ages 16 and 17, all in Southeast and North Texas, none in Bexar County.
He said children are among groups considered at high risk for the flu, also including pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic illness.
Van Deusen said he urges the public to learn more at TexasFlu.org.