Health experts are once again urging people to get a flu vaccine this fall, but as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, fears of a shortage of vaccines are beginning to rise.
“I encourage everyone to please get their influenza vaccine this year. It is more important than ever, and the reason is, it doesn’t protect you from COVID-19, but what it will do is help prevent many of you from getting seriously ill requiring hospitalization, at a time when we may need all hospital beds and all the hospital staff available to prepare and deal with a second surge of COVID-19 should it occur,” said Doctor Nick Fitterman executive director of Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital.
The demand for flu shots could be greater than normal this year.
According to the New York State Department of Health, the CDC estimates a record number of flu vaccine doses are being manufactured.
"Within the large health care system that we are working with there has been no reports of any shortage. we are getting all the deliveries that we’ve asked for," says Dr. Fitterman.
Dr. Fitterman says orders for the flu vaccine are made a year in advance, which means those orders went in before COVID-19 reached the U.S.
The New York State Department of Health tells FOX 5 NY, “While healthcare providers obtain flu vaccine directly from vaccine producers or third-party distributors, neither the CDC or manufactures have notified us of any anticipated delays."
CVS tells us it has a substantial inventory and it is prepared to administer 18 million flu shots this season.
"We have ample supply of vaccine on hand and are not currently experiencing or anticipating widespread shortages for the months when demand for the flu shot is at its peak. If a local store temporarily runs low on its supply, it will be replenished as quickly as possible," said Joe Goode, Senior Director, Corporate Communications, CVS Health.
Walgreens also says it is able to meet customer demand at this time.
If there were to be a shortage, doctor Fitterman says no need to panic. "Instead of giving the vaccine intramuscularly, they were able to use half the dose and give it intradermal which is just under the skin and therefore able to extend the number of vaccines available,” said doctor Fitterman.
Get breaking news alerts in the FOX5NY News app. Download for FREE!