Health departments running out of flu vaccine


Reporters - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky.---The director of six area health departments told us in an interview on Friday he had enough vaccines, despite an increased demand.
Monday it's a totally different story, in fact physicians at the Purchase District Health departments are turning people away.
As people hear about how bad this year's flu is, they get the shot. So many people are getting vaccinated the supplier for health departments in Ballard, Carlisle, Fulton, Hickman, and McCracken Counties ran out of the regular flu shot and likely won't have any more this flu season.  Luckily, the more expensive intradermal flu shot will be back on health department shelves later this week.the health director says they're in pretty good shape.

Public Health Director Kent Koster didn't think restocking would be a problem, but Friday afternoon he learned it would be.

"We were contacted by our supplier and said they were out, we couldn't order anything," Koster said.

Not good, especially in light of severe flu outbreaks. In Lexington, the University of Kentucky hospital is imposing visitation limits to prevent further outbreaks.

Local hospitals haven't resorted to those measures yet, but the Infection Control Coordinator at Lourdes said they have a plan in place and will implement it if necessary.

The Centers for Disease Control report during the first week of this month; all eight states in region four reported regional or widespread flu activity.  26.6 percent of patients with flu like symptoms tested positive for the flu, and so far, four people have died.

That's what Koster wants to stop.  He's expecting a shipment of intradermal flu shots later this week, and says people who want the flu shot should act fast before he runs out again.
The intradermal vaccines will cost patients 30-dollars. Koster expects to have those back in stock on Wednesday.
Spokespeople for Lourdes and Western Baptist Hospitals tell Local 6 they have plenty of both types of the flu vaccine for now. 

The Infection Control Coordinator at Lourdes said since September, they've treated 800 people with flu-like symptoms, but only 80 of them actually tested positive for the flu. All of those patients were seen during the past month.