Flu vaccine shortages already showing up across parts of the metro

Flu vaccine shortages already showing up across parts of the metro

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Flu vaccines are running low in some metro Atlanta communities, and some providers say they are completely out.

Vaccine manufacturers across the U.S. are facing serious delays as demand rises in an effort to avoid what’s been dubbed as a potential “twindemic” —a flu and COVID diagnosis.

The vaccines that appear to be impacted the most are the high-dose vaccines, which are typically given to older adults – which has some of the metro area’s smaller providers worried.

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Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr went out toe COVID-19 testing site at the new Stonecrest City Hall parking lot Wednesday that was also giving out flu shots.

Before Donald Watkins made it to the testing site, he told Carr that he had a hard time finding his flu shot at his own doctor’s office.

“They said they didn’t have the low-dose. They only had the 65 and up in the clinic, so they gave me a list of pharmacies that would have it, but the pharmacies charged a lot more,” Watkins said.

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Mark Patrick said he’s worried about more than just himself getting sick.

“I’m trying to find every way to protect myself and my loved ones,” Patrick said.

The Georgia Department of Public Health said it has ordered 200,000 more vaccinations than last year amid pandemic demand but said manufacturers have already told them that when that runs out -- that’s it. There won’t be any more available to ship.

A DPH spokeswoman told Carr that the state also has reports of smaller providers running out of that high-dose vaccination supply -- the flu shot with more antigens -- designed for people 65 and up.

“We’re seeing a surge in demand versus the current supply that’s here on the market,” said Eric Nickens Jr. with the DeKalb County Board of Health.

Nickens said DeKalb bought its own high-dose supply as pandemic demand increased earlier this fall.

Each of its health centers still reports having more than 100 doses on hand, about 1,000 high-dose shots in pharmaceutical holds and plenty of the low-dose shots.

“Should we have more people come to us from all over the metro, not just Dekalb, we could run out sooner, but we don’t see foresee any shortages right now based on the supply that we do have,” Nickens said.

DPH said the most important reminder is to get a flu shot no matter what, even if you’re looking for the high-dose vaccine -- go with what’s available.

Health officials warn of possible twindemic as flu season approaches