Surge in St. Louis area flu cases puts strain on vaccine supplies

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by Maggie Crane / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 12 at 12:02 AM

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Chances are, you know someone who's had the flu this season.
 
Forty-seven states are now reporting outbreaks, and the St. Louis area has already seen more flu cases this flu season than all of last season.
 
The surge in flu cases is taking its toll on flu vaccine supplies.  Several pharmacies in the Metro East report being out of the vaccine or have very low supplies.
 
I too fell ill to the flu.  I was diagnosed with Influenza B over the holidays.  I had not gotten a flu shot but learned that it still wasn't too late to get the vaccine, even though I'd already been sick.
 
"It's formulated for each year, so even though you're had one strain, there could be another strain which you could be susceptible to," Nurse Laura Shambro told me.  "You still need [the vaccine].  We're still in flu season through the end of March, so it's important for everyone to get their flu vaccine."
 
Health officials are expecting another peak.
 
VNA-TIP HealthCare has opened more than 30 public flu shot clinics throughout the Metro area.  A flu shot costs $25 and is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.  No appointment is necessary.
 
To find the closest flu shot clinic, call 800-642-6099 and press option 3 for vaccination information.

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