Some East Texans could be in for a long flu season. A supply of flu vaccines at a local health district, are being sent back. The Northeast Texas Public Health District got a shipment of extra flu vaccines to assist those from Hurricane Katrina and Rita. And now...those vaccines are going back where they came from.
Nick Sciarrini, Director of Northeast Texas Public Health District says, "It was borrowed from the State of Health Department and most of it was intendent for FEMA, shelter use and the Hurricane Relief and so now that it's over we have to return what i didn't use." More than 1500 flu vaccines were not used and so they have to be returned. State Officials tell Sciarrini that some of the vaccine will be sent to other areas. Sciarrini says, "There are areas of the state that still have no flu vaccines. So that's where some of this distribution is going."
The Public Health District's role is to be safety net for those who don't have a primary doctor or who's physician can't get the flu vaccine. So what does this mean for East Texans wanting to get the flu shot? Sciarrini told us it could be a month before the public health district will get another shipment. Sciarrini says, "What's disappointing is an inadequate supply all over for the flu vaccine and that's what is disappointing, I'm pleased that we were able to use as many dozens as we were able to use in our area to get as many high risk people vaccinated." He says at one point there might be more vaccines than can be used. And his fear is that people will think it's too late to protect themselves from the flu.
There are still some places where you can get a flu shot. We checked with Broadway Square Mall in Tyler, they say will be having a flu shot clinic next weekend, November 4th - 6th, normal mall hours, while supplies last. And in Longview, the Louis Morgan Drug Store at Judson and Johnston got a new shipment of flu shots on Thursday.