Regular flu vaccines not being shipped to some companies anymore

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - H1N1 Swine Flu vaccines are now in Virginia, but it'll be another couple of weeks before they will be available to most of you.

But to get the vaccines out, some manufactures have delayed their shipment of the seasonal flu vaccine.

There is some concern right now that the demand for the seasonal flu vaccines will outweigh the supply. A shortage, some vaccine distributors are feeling, right now.

More than 95 percent of the flu cases right now, are in fact H1N1 Swine Flu. It's an eye catching number, but one that healthcare workers say does not tell the whole story.

"There's been a little too much focus on that and not enough on the importance of the seasonal flu," said John Beckner with Ukrop's.

That is especially true since the seasonal flu kills between 36,000 and 40,000 people per year.

While a record number of people have already gotten the seasonal flu vaccine, pharmacies and some distributors are now facing a shortage.

"The government has really put a lot of emphasis on the Swine Flu and getting the H1N1 vaccine into the market place," added John.

NBC12 has obtained an email from ASD Healthcare, which distributes the seasonal flu vaccine.

In it, ASD Healthcare says they are only getting about half of it's already reduced number of vaccinations.

The e-mail goes on to say contrary to prior communications, ASD should not expect to receive further doses of influenza vaccines this flu season. That's partially to blame on the pressure manufacturers are getting to make the new H1N1 Swine Flu vaccine.

But one doctor says early predictions are the majority of flu cases this year will, in fact, be Swine Flu.

"We look to the Southern Hemisphere where the flu season is over and we've seen Swine Flu predominant," said Dr. Danny Avula.

While he believe the same will hold true here in the US, it does not diminish the importance of the seasonal flu vaccine, along with the shortage we're seeing right now.

The true test of how many cases will be regular flu versus Swine Flu will be found in January of next year through March, when the regular flu season picks up. Also, just because ASD Healthcare is reporting they are told not to expect further doses of the influenza vaccine this season, other companies will still get vaccines to provide to you.

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