Bay Area Pharmacies Short on Flu Vaccine, Related Deaths on Rise | NBC Southern California

Bay Area Pharmacies Short on Flu Vaccine, Related Deaths on Rise



    As the number of flu-related deaths in the Bay Area continues to rise, there is word of a temporary shortage of flu vaccines. (Published Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014)

    Some pharmacies in the Bay Area are reporting a temporary shortage in flu shots amid a rise in deaths related to the illness.

    Both CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens have said that some of their local pharmacies have run out of flu shots and are trying to re-stock their supplies. Other pharmacies in the area still have vaccines on hand.

    A Walgreens store in Millbrae ran out of flu shots Saturday afternoon, after starting the day with just 30 doses left. The stock was expected to be replenished on Monday.

    While not every pharmacy is experiencing vaccine shortages, Walgreens and CVS have both acknowledged that some of their pharmacies are running low or have run out of flu shots because of high demand. Bringing additional vaccines in typically takes 48 hours.

    The shortage comes just as state health officials are urging people to get the flu vaccine, citing a series of deaths resulting from the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu.

    Seven Bay Area counties, including Santa Cruz County, have reported collectively more than a dozen deaths so far this flu season.

    The most recent victim was a 23-year-old man from Sonoma County with no underlying heath problems. All of the victims so far have been under the age of 65.

    MORE: Women Die of H1N1 Flu Virus in Contra Costa, Santa Clara Counties

    Despite the risks, some people said they still aren’t planning on getting vaccinated.

    "I know that there are people who have died recently, but I consider if it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go," San Bruno resident Yvonne Scheerer said. "And I don’t try to worry about getting illnesses or being concerned about that."

    Novato resident Melissa Marengo also said she won't be getting a shot anytime soon.

    "I’ve actually never had one," she said. "I don’t do well with shots. It hasn’t seemed something I’ve been concerned about."

    About four years ago, roughly 600 Californians died in a swine flu pandemic. Health officials are not predicting a similar pandemic this year, but they said this flu season appears to be worse than previous years.