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Atlanta-Area Pharmacies Grapple With Flu Shot Shortage

Dr. Mitchell Blass works at St. Joseph Hospital and said the shortage of flu shots can be blamed, in part, to not expecting such an active flu season.
Dr. Mitchell Blass works at St. Joseph Hospital and said the shortage of flu shots can be blamed, in part, to not expecting such an active flu season.
Credit Ted S. Warren / Associated Press File

As the flu epidemic spreads, doctors advise everyone gets a flu shot.

That may prove to be a difficult task, especially around Atlanta.

Atlanta area stores like Kroger, CVS and Publix are running low or out of flu shots.

Some pharmacies have shots in stock only for people age 65 and older.

A Kroger spokesperson said in a statement their supply is running low and recommended calling ahead of time to make sure stores had shots in stock.

Dr. Mitchell Blass works at St. Joseph Hospital and said the shortage can be blamed, in part, to not expecting such an active flu season.

“This year happens to be a particularly difficult year,” Blass said. “That was not well accounted for in this year’s seasonal vaccination.”

Blass said the effectiveness of this year’s flu shots is also down compared to other years but that you should still get one if you can because the flu’s so widespread.

A CVS pharmacist said they are running low on flu shots district wide and are not sure when they will get more in stock. Their supplier, Cardinal Health, declined to comment.

He said this year’s strand of the flu is also highly contagious.

“While an influenza vaccination will not prevent any and all influenza related illness, it’s still one thing we can do to lower the risk of influenza mortality,” Blass said.

A Publix spokesperson also said in a statement that they are working to keep their pharmacies with an adequate supply because demand has increased.

The CDC and Department of Public Health each recommended calling ahead to make sure grocery and drug stores had flu shots in stock.