ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) — Doctors are urging everyone to get a flu shot as we head into flu season during a pandemic.
Demand is so high right now, some metro Atlanta locations are running low on the high-dose flu vaccine designed for seniors age 65 and older.
Nancy Nydam with the Georgia Department of Public Health said the department has heard of some smaller providers running out with no shipments on the way. She also said DPH was told when it gets all of the vaccine it pre-ordered, that will be it and manufacturers are not making more.
The Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments report a very limited supply left of the high-dose vaccine.
Anyone looking for the shot is urged to call ahead to confirm a location has it to offer. Experts add that getting any currently licensed flu shot is better than not getting one at all.
The DeKalb County Board of Health said it has a sufficient supply of the high-dose vaccine and anyone, not just DeKalb residents, can make an appointment to get a vaccine, including at some drive-thru locations.
“We’re happy that people are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from the potential ‘twindemic,'” said Eric Nickens, Jr., spokesperson for the DeKalb County Board of Health.
Public health officials are preparing for the convergence of COVID-19 the flu, and urge people to get their flu shots to reduce the risk of a “twindemic.” Some believe guidelines that are already in place such as social distancing and masks will help reduce the spread the flu.
“We don’t necessarily know what to expect but we prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Nickens said.
At Little Five Points Pharmacy on Moreland Avenue, Ira Katz is giving the standard flu vaccine to his customers. He didn’t receive the high-dose vaccine, despite ordering it.
“I’ve actually had to refer some patients out to other locations that do have the high dose because we are a little guy and we don’t buy in tens of thousands of units,” he said. “We did not get everything we ordered and I’m not alone in that and it came late.”
A CVS Pharmacy spokesperson told CBS46 they recently gave their 9 millionth flu shot this season, which is the total amount they gave last season.
“We have ample supply of vaccine on hand and are not currently experiencing or anticipating widespread shortages for the months when demand for the flu shot is at its peak. If a local store temporarily runs low on its supply due to high demand in the area, it will be replenished as quickly as possible. This applies to both standard and high dose for seniors,” said Matt Blanchette with CVS.
A Walgreens spokesperson said they are meeting the demand.
“With the convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season, we are seeing an early increase in customer demand. We’re able to meet this demand for flu shots at this time and are advising customers to contact their local pharmacy to verify availability of flu shots as inventory varies at each store. We continue to work closely with manufacturers to ensure there is adequate supply this flu season,” said Alex Brown with Walgreens.