State health officials are squashing rumors about a potential shortage of seasonal flu vaccines. The rumors began to swirl after Dahl’s Foods, a grocery store chain headquartered in Des Moines, postponed its flu-shot clinics. Dahl’s officials said they were unable to receive shipments of the vaccine.
Don Callaghan is the Bureau Chief for the Immunization and Tuberculosis Program at the Iowa Department of Public Health. He says plenty of seasonal vaccines are available. “There is no projection whatsoever that would indicate that we would have a shortage of seasonal influenza vaccine,” Callaghan said.
“We anticipate having the same as we’ve had in past years so there’s no shortage that we are aware of for seasonal flu vaccine.” Seasonal flu is different from the new H-1-N-1 flu and different vaccines are required. Callaghan says the H-1-N-1 vaccine won’t be ready until mid-October.
“It is anticipated the vaccine manufacturer for seasonal, as well as H1N1 influenza vaccine, can handle production for both of those products,” Callaghan said. “Manufacturers were instructed to do seasonal influenza vaccine first followed by H1N1 influenza vaccine production.” The seasonal vaccine is being distributed in waves.
Callaghan says 40-million seasonal flu vaccines are currently being distributed throughout the United States with about 115-million available. He predicts more people will get seasonal flu shots this year because of the new H-1-N-1 flu.