Flu Shot Shortage Causes One CI County to Cancel Clinics

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DOUGLAS COUNTY--A short supply of flu shots forces one Central Illinois health department to cancel its clinics for the season, while others try to get by with the vaccines they already have.

The Douglas County Health Department has experienced flu shot shortages before, but never one like this year's.

"This, I think, has been the first where we've ever had to cancel a clinic," said administrator, Amanda Minor.

Clinics had been scheduled throughout the flue season after the vaccines were supposed to be delivered by September 2nd. Nearly four weeks later, the shipment is nowhere to be seen.

"We called today and they are still not able to get us the vaccine," said Minor on Monday.

Minor says it's partly because they ordered the quadrivalent version of the vaccine, which protects against four strains of the flu, instead of just three. The extra protection created extra demand, and as manufacturers struggle with supplies, public health departments across Central Illinois, including Champaign-Urbana, are holding off on influenza injections.

"Apparently there is some distribution and production issues with that, so we are still holding on receiving the injectable version," said Brandon Meline, Director of Maternal and Children's Health at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. "But we do have the mist. And we probably will start clinics as soon as possible with that."

In Douglas County, health officials will wait until they are fully stocked with shots before rescheduling the clinics they had to cancel.

"We're going to hold off, and get it all in," said Minor. "They're hoping that we get it by the middle to end of October."

The Douglas County Health Department aims to host its first clinic of the season within a week of receiving its vaccines.
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