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No shortage of flu vaccine, expert tells KSL

FILE - This Jan. 23, 2020 file photo shows a patient receiving a flu vaccination in Mesquite, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — In spite of a reported shortage of flu vaccine at some drug stores around the country, both here in Utah and nationally, experts say there is plenty to go around.

Rich Lakin, Immunizations Program Manager at the State Department of Health, tells Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on KSL NewsRadio the state will have enough. 

“Many of the pharmacies, private providers, local health departments, community nursing services … anyone who provides flu shots … actually ordered more vaccine,” Lakin said. 

As to why some might be experiencing a flu vaccine shortage already, Lakin said, “Maybe (it’s) shipping slowly?”

Twindemic fears

That seems to pan out from what we know across the nation.   AP is reporting that a record number of flu vaccine doses are coming to the U.S., between 194 and 198 million. And the flu shot ships gradually, the organization reports. Not even 50% of the flu vaccine has been distributed yet, and more is on the way, heading off any concerns about a shortage.

Health officials are hoping demand for the vaccine is high, because they don’t want to deal with a “twindemic.”  That would be, two major illnesses at one time, the flu and COVID. 

When to get the flu vaccine

Lakin announced he is getting his flu shot on his birthday which is in the middle of October.  But he says inbetween now and very early November is a good time for the shot.  “The vaccine does vary from individual to individual, but it should provide immunity for 2 to 3 months.  It’s important that you are immune (over the bulk) of the holidays, when (transmission is likely.)”

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States