NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – With the flu epidemic hitting the Tri-State Area hard, many pharmacies have begun to run out of flu shot supplies.
But as CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, persistence has paid off for people in search of the vaccine. They have found that if at first they do not succeed, they simply need to try, and try again.
Even if every pharmacy in New York says it has run out of the flu vaccine, do not ever tell a Manhattan mother there is no flu shot for her child.
“Women’s intuition,” said Nick Davlen, “we double checked, and we found out they had children’s.”
A thrilled Davlen and her husband, Rob, made a successful visit to an urgent care facility – even though their 3-year-old was not so happy about that shot in the arm.
On Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a public health emergency in New York State due to the flu.
But the pursuit of a flu shot has proved tricky. Earlier Sunday, Langford called a random sampling of a half-dozen pharmacies across Manhattan and found all of them were out of the vaccine.
WEB EXTRA: FLU RESOURCE GUIDE FOR THE TRI-STATE AREA
At one CVS on the Upper West Side, they were all out of the vaccine but hope to have more doses by Tuesday. Several pharmacies we spoke to say they expect to receive new shipments of flu vaccine early this coming week.
Less than half of all Americans have received a flu shot.
“If we can get as many people in the community vaccinated it means that there’s less people around to get the flu and give it to everyone else” said Dr. Mary O’Brien of Columbia University said.
At this point in the season there’s not anywhere near enough flu vaccine even if half the nation could or would get a flu shot, Langford reported.
“I came in to get some prescriptions filled and I was counting on getting my flu shot and they are out of flu shots,” a man told Langford.
WEB EXTRA: Find A Flu Shot
It also has been an incredibly busy weekend at medical clinics, where people are already experiencing symptoms of the flu.
“It’s been the busiest weekend we’ve ever had,” said Dr. Mark Melrose.
Melrose said his Upper West Side office has been overwhelmed with people from all ages suffering from the flu or flu-like symptoms.
“They come running for relief — most of whom have not had a flu shot,” Melrose said.
The doctor has some advice for us all.
“Don’t go into work or school, where you’ll spread it to everyone else you know,” he said.
Nearly 20,000 cases of the flu have already been reported this year in New York, more than four times as many cases reported in all of last flu season.
WEB EXTRA: Find A Flu Shot
Still, amid the flu epidemic, Sunday Mass went on as usual at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Many parishioners said they were not deterred from shaking hands at Mass.
“I work out a lot so I feel like my immune system’s fighting it anyways. I get more concerned about food, candidly. Make sure people have gloves on and things like that,” a man told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.