Local health agencies are still waiting on flu vaccines.
A national shortage has trickled down and things aren't getting any better.
But a surprisingly slow start to the flu season may spell relief.
Long lines for the flu shot have dwindled. And a slow start to the flu season that pales in comparison to last year is helping health providers cope with the vaccine shortage.
"A slow start to the flu season is kind of a blessing in disguise," says St. Joseph Regional Health Center Spokeswoman Angela Clendenin.
St. Joseph Regional Health Center is one of many local hospitals experiencing the shortage.
"Currently at St. Joseph we exhausted all the supply we had. All health care providers have been under the strict CDC guidelines for high risk patients and by following those guidelines we've been able to take care of our team-members, at risk patients and that pretty much exhausted our supply," says Clendenin.
The College Station Med is encouraging at-risk groups to get a pneumonia shot because flu can turn into pneumonia in later stages.
Scott and White also had a limited supply of flu shots and have only been able to vaccinate at-risk patients.
If the flu season remains moderately slow the impact of the flu shot shortage will not be as devastating.
"So far the flu season has been relatively slow. There have been some reported cases in the county but the numbers aren't high. We're still early in the season," says Dr. Charles Williams of the Brazos County Health Dept.
The Brazos County Health Department hopes part of the one million flu vaccines the government is trying to secure for Americans will also soften the blow.
But more vaccines are not expected until January.
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When to receive the influenza vaccine
Source: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/flu/fluvac.htm ( The Center for Disease Control Vaccine Information Web site)
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