Flu shot supplies run low as outbreak spreads in Oregon

Flu shot supplies run low as outbreak spreads in Oregon »Play Video
Vials of flu vaccine are displayed at Philly Flu Shots on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 in Philadelphia. The flu season arrived early in the U.S. this year, but health officials and experts say it's too early to say this will be a bad one. Experts say evidence so far is pointing to a moderate flu season - it just looks worse because last year's season was so mild. Flu usually doesn't blanket the country until late January or February. Now, it's already widespread in more than 40 states. That could change when the next government report comes out Friday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Where to Get a Flu Shot | Flu Trend Map | CDC's Weekly Flu Summary 

EUGENE, Ore. -- The number of people reporting flu-like symptoms is on the rise in Oregon.

Pharmacies and health centers around Lane County have reported that they are running out of flu shots, which has many residents searching for a place that still offers the vaccine.

Dr. Bruce Strimling of the Oregon Medical group said that the demand has skyrocketed since the flu outbreak began.

“We are pretty much out of vaccines for older children and adults,” said Dr. Strimling. “We still have vaccines for children under age three but were down to a few doses. We'll be out of that by Monday.”

The Centers for Disease Control reported 20 flu deaths across the nation – all children under the age of 18. While no deaths have been reported in Oregon, many have been hospitalized by the flu.

In Springfield alone, 19 people have gone to the hospital with flu-related illnesses.

“We don't know how bad its gonna be here. We’re still on the upswing, so I don't know how many cases were gonna see,” Dr. Strimling said.

Strimling added that older people and babies are especially vulnerable to the influenza virus, so it is important to have young children immunized.  

The CDC said that each year the virus changes, so it is also important to have an up-to-date shot each year. 

Employees at the River Road Health Mart in Eugene have been flooded with calls and patients asking about the vaccine. Pharmacist Brian Marr said that the Health Mart ran out Thursday.

“Yesterday was the first time we were out this season, so we were doing shots in the morning but with all the added hype we ran out,” said Marr. “Then this morning we got some more.” 

River Road Health Mart will be giving flu shots from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Other places that still have vaccines include the Eugene Urgent Care and Lane County Public Health clinic.

The CDC said that the best way to prevent the flu is to get a vaccination, adding that this year's vaccine is well matched to protect the immune system from the strains that they are seeing this year