Flu shot supply dwindles at county health departments - WKRN News 2

Flu shot supply dwindles at county health departments

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

The Metro Public Health Department may run out of the flu vaccine as early as Friday.

Spokesperson Brian Todd told News 2 that supply has dropped and although he could not say for sure, it's possible the department could run out by the end of the day.

"When we run out, that's it," Todd said. "We won't get anymore."

News 2 checked with Middle Tennessee counties and found that Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Cheatham have all run out of the vaccine in the last few days. Robertson has a few vaccines left but they are reserved for people who are either uninsured or under-insured.

Williamson County's health department exhausted its supply on Thursday but hopes to have more vaccine by Monday.

This year's influenza has claimed the lives of as many as 13 people in Tennessee and several of the victims were otherwise healthy adults.

Flu deaths are difficult to keep track of because there is no requirement for adult deaths to be reported to the state.

The only flu deaths that must be reported are of children and pregnant women.

Doctors continue to emphasize that the strain of influenza causing the most trouble and requiring hospitalization is H1N1, which is included in this year's vaccine.

Metro Public Health Department spokesman Brian Todd told News 2 the H1N1 strain of influenza often hospitalizes or kills healthy adults, as was the case in 2009.

Todd told News 2 the spread of influenza can be slowed in two ways.

"There are things you can do to protect yourself, the flu shot is one, and there are things you can do to protect others, like if you start having flu like symptoms, like people are having now, then stay home," he said.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, people can still find the flu shots at many area pharmacies, and if your county's health department runs out of the vaccine you should check with neighboring counties.

"There is no residency requirement," health department spokesperson Shelley Walker said.

All county health departments in Tennessee are offering free flu shots as long as they are available.

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