Flu vaccine in limited supply in two area counties

By Marc Strauss

January 11, 2013 Updated Jan 12, 2013 at 8:11 PM CDT

TAZEWELL COUNTY, Ill. -- Imagine learning you can't get a flu shot at your local health department. That's the case in some central Illinois communities.

If you've finally decided to get a flu shot, you probably won't have much luck at the Peoria County Health Department or the Tazewell County Health Department. The demand for the vaccine has caused a shortage of doses in both places.

"Right now we have no adult vaccines available," said Tazewell County Health Department spokesperson Sara Sparkman.

And don't plan on acquiring more. Sparkman adds they've also run low on vaccines for kids.

"We have a limited supply of injectable children's vaccine and we do not have any nasal spray for children right now," Sparkman explained.

It's simply a matter of supply and demand, which has been amplified by the fact that the Tazewell County Health Department ordered fewer doses of flu vaccine this year.

But Sparkman says don't worry, there is still plenty to be had.

"There are vaccines available in the area. Other health departments in the area may have vaccines," she said. "Pharmacies also have a limited supply."

Limited is right.

At one Walgreens location in Pekin they expect to run out of flu shots sometime this weekend. While they'll eventually get more, they're preparing to help customers who don't want to wait.

"They're disappointed but we try to give them options," said pharmacist Mary Matheny. "We've called around to our other stores, our other Walgreens stores in the community, and our other store has been able to supply some of the vaccine."

Matheny also says demand is high for over the counter remedies that deal with flu symptoms.

"Its heavier, maybe around 30 to 40 percent. It might be higher than that," Matheny said.

Whether you have the flu or not, Matheny advises people to be diligent about washing their hands and stay hydrated.

To find a location that may offer the flu vaccine near you, visit www.flu.gov.