Pharmacies seeing early increase in customer demand for flu vaccine

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Flu shot. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS – Health officials are urging everyone to get the flu vaccination as soon as possible.

They say the number of COVID-19 cases is continuing to spike and health officials are worried about what that will mean for the flu.

“Both the flu and COVID-19 have similar respiratory symptoms. Both are severe cases that can require hospitalization that uses the same lifesaving medical equipment,” Purdue University School of Nursing Associate Professor Libby Richards said.

A Walgreens corporate spokesperson says they’ve seen an early increase in customer demand for the flu vaccine including the high-dose flu shot for people 65 or older.

“It contains more antigens in the vaccine to give older adults an extra kick to develop immunity because as we age our immune system tends to weaken,” Richards explained.

CVS says they’re prepared to administer 18 million flu shots this flu season.

A spokesperson says if they happen to run low on any kind of flu vaccine it’s due to the high demand in the area.

“There’s always a supply and demand issue when it comes to vaccines especially flu shots. No provider wants to have more supply than what they’re going to use,” Richards said.

The Marion County Public Health Department isn’t aware of any shortages right now.

Richards says many things can delay shipments getting to an area.

“When we have things like hurricanes or wildfires that can disrupt vaccine distribution,” Richards said.

Richards says it’s always best to call your pharmacy ahead of time to see if they have the vaccination you need in stock.

“Any provider would be able to tell you if they have the vaccine in stock that you’re looking for. Either your primary care provider or retail providers,” Richards said.

The CDC has approved two different vaccines designed for adults 65 and older. 

If you want to learn more about them, click here.

The Marion County Public Health Department is also offering flu shots. Here are their upcoming clinics.

Sunday, Oct. 18
St. Gabriel Catholic Church 6000 W. 34th Street 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 22
Englewood Christian Church
57 N. Rural Street
4-6 p.m.

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