NJ Faces Flu Vaccine Shortage

NJ Faces Flu Vaccine Shortage New Jersey's health commissioner now says the state can expect to get half the number of doses it has requested. The nation was left with a vaccine shortage last week after British regulators shutdown one of two vaccine makers. N.J. Health Commissioner Clifton Lacy says the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to ensure that the remaining doses go to high-priority providers. Health officials have urged healthy people to skip a flu shot this year. That leaves the vaccine for high-risk individuals, such as the elderly, the very young and those with chronic respiratory illness. But people across the country are still lining up for flu shots. But it appears the vaccine may not be getting to those who need it most.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's taking every step to get an equitable distribution of available vaccine. The medicine is being sent straight to pediatricians, nursing homes and other places that care for the youngest, oldest and sickest people: those who need it most.

But only a fraction of the 22.5 million doses made by other suppliers can be diverted to areas with the biggest shortages, meaning many high-risk patients will be left out.

The FDA is hoping to acquire 1.5 million doses from Canada.

"If someone does not fall into any of these high risk categories, they should really refuse to take the vaccine because they're taking it away from someone who may have serious complications if they do get the flu," said Sandy Schwartz who works with the Chester County Immunization Program.

Government officials say they are working with the vaccine manufacturer to make sure the medicine gets to those who need it.

Here are two helpful websites:

CDC Flu Site
Find a Flu Shot Clinic

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