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Struggle To Keep Up With Flu Vaccine Demand

January 11, 2013, 5:00 PM by Brady Mallory

Struggle To Keep Up With Flu Vaccine Demand

As flu numbers climb, so does the demand for flu shots and local suppliers are struggling to keep up.

Lewis Drug in Sioux Falls has run out of the flu vaccine several times in the same week. It got a shipment of 700 doses in on Friday and went through about half of them within two hours.

There has been such a rush to get the vaccine, Lewis set up shot clinics at its stores in Sioux Falls. Director of Pharmacy Bill Ladwig said that is unusual because this is time of year when they are done with flu clinics. 

Store Manager Bob Deaton said he has never seen a rush for flu vaccine this intense.

The flu clinics are good news for Glenda Hartman, who did not get her shot.

"May I have you relax your arm as much as possible." a pharmacist told Hartman before sticking her with the syringe. 

Hartman did not put off getting her shot; she usually gets it every fall. However, a doctor told her to hold off due to a medical problem.

"I was kind of beat feeting down here because they said they may only have 40 shots. I wanted to get it," Hartman said.

A lot of people in the area did not get it done. Ladwig said he has received call after call from people rushing to get their shots.

"It's almost a panic point of getting vaccines, so we're scrambling," Ladwig said.

Lewis is set to get another 1,000 doses in and do flu clinics through the weekend at Lewis Drug Stores in Sioux Falls. However, once it is gone, that will be it. Nearly 130 million doses of the vaccine were shipped across the country this year and almost all of them have been used.

"It's got people somewhat concerned.  I mean, when young people are dying, it's a causative concern," Ladwig said.

Ron Lerseth is not one of those concerned people because he got vaccinated in the fall.

"Yes, that's a relief. I can't understand why people would not get it. But whatever," Lerseth said.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials, this year's vaccine is only about 62 percent effective.  If you want to find a flu clinic near you, click here and type in your zip code and you'll get a list. It is a good idea to call ahead and make sure they still have vaccine.

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