A big spike in flu cases across the nation and here in our area is putting a strain on hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.
And some local pharmacies ran out of the flu vaccine this week, doing a brisk business giving shots.
News 3 spoke with patients and pharmacists about the flu outbreak and area stores are seeing a steady stream of people getting vaccinated.
We've been talking about how flu season came a month early and now the illness is widespread in all but three states. Healthcare experts say it's not too late to get vaccinated, but some pharmacies are now running out.
"Have you had a flu shot before? You've never had any trouble with it?," asked Heather Davis, a pharmacist at H-E-B.
It's a common request at pharmacies across Bryan - College Station these days.
People like Richard Pitts of Bryan are rolling up their sleeves to fight the flu.
"I seen it last night on the news and it's saying if I get the flu it's still gonna be better than not having the shot at all," said Pitts.
Christina Russell and her 7-year-old daughter Isabella were getting their flu shots for the first time.
"Oh just being sick. We don't want to be sick, we have plenty of things to do this year, so anything to help out that," added Russell.
Heather Davis is the Pharmacy Manager for H-E-B in north Bryan. They still have plenty of vaccine but gave more than a dozen today.
They also are filling prescription orders for Tamiflu for those who are already sick.
"If they've been exposed the flu shot won't help them all that much. It does take two weeks for your body to build immunity once you get the flu shot," said Davis.
Some stores are running out though.
Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Downtown Bryan ran out of flu shots Friday and they don't think they'll get any more.
The Target in College Station turned down 11 people after running out.
They are ordering more.
"Have you been feeling well the last few days?," questioned Judy Voyles, before giving a flu vaccine to a patient.
She is a Staff Pharmacist at the Walgreens on 29th Street in Bryan.
"There's pretty much traffic from morning 'till night. All of our pharmacists are licensed immunizers, so we give 'em in the middle of the night if somebody gets off work and needs one. They can come in any time of day or night," Voyles said.
"I understand it that that flu that's going around is really bad so I hope everybody takes precautions," said Kenny Mallard, a Brazos County Commissioner for Precinct 3.
Mallard just got his flu shot at Walgreens.
The places we went to Friday sold flu shots from between $27 and $32 but there may be a discount depending on insurance.
The Brazos County Health Department tells us they still are well stocked.
Flu vaccines there go for 20 bucks.
Children under 7 will need a prescription from their doctor to get vaccinated at area pharmacies
There are signs the flu may have already peaked in some states.
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