Seniors Line Up For Flu Shots

A shortage in the number of flu vaccines available in the U.S. has created a bit of a panic across the country.

Right now only those deemed high risk are getting the shots, but even they are having trouble.  Some East Texans are going to great measures to get the shots they need.

Hundreds lined up outside Glenwood United Methodist Church in Tyler Saturday morning, hoping to be one of the few to get a flu shot.  Della and Howard Brown of Chandler were two of those hoping to take advantage of the free clinic.  They showed up an hour early to make sure they didn't miss out.

"We seen this on t.v and saw it in the paper so we figured we better get one while it's still available," said Howard.

Dellas is 78, Howard 83, both in the age range doctors consider high risk for the flu.  Something this couple knows all too well.

"(Howard) had the flu 6-7 years ago and he was very sick so I don't want to be that sick if I can help it," said Della.

With the shortage, health care officials say it's more important than ever to target those in need.

"We have very few smooth season with the flu but this has been unusual," said Donna Goodnight, coordinator for Shots Across Texas.  "We have to meet that criteria in order to make sure those in need get the vaccine."

For the Browns, a little waiting, and a little pain, in the end paid off.

"I think you ought to do all you can to take care of your health," said Della.  "I guess it's worth it since there is such a shortage, it's worth it to stand in line."

The clinic was put on by "Shots Across Texas".

Just 500 doses were available Saturday, and some folks did have to be turned away.  Officials with the Health Department say, stay in contact with your doctor, they can help you find out where vaccines are available.  They also say take advantage of the shot clinics in your area.

Chris Gibson, reporting