Manufacturers Can't Keep Up With the Demand for H1N1 Vaccines

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

Just because the local health departments don't have them, doesn't mean they're not available.  You just have to find them, and be on the priority list.

"We're doing the best that we can with amount of vaccine that we have, and by the way, as of Friday, we don't have anymore vaccine," Midland Health Department Director, Sal Garcia, said.

The department get's an average of 100 doses of H1N1 vaccine every time they order.  According to Garcia, that's not what they ask for and it's not nearly enough, "Am I upset that I wished that I had some more vaccine, yes I'm upset.  I would like to have some more and we'll get a little bit as we come along."

But Garcia explained, just because they don't have any, doesn't mean it's not available at all, "There is vaccine out there in our community.  You have to call your physician.  You have to call clinics and go there, or call your local health department.  Some local health departments have vaccine and some don't."

Doctor Richard Bartlett with Permian Prompt Care in Odessa is among those who do have some in limited quantities, "They're sending like 40 injections at time.  That's like 40 shots.  They're recommending, if someone does get the vaccine, that they get 2 vaccines, so that's only like 20 people being helped in a doctor's office.  That's not a very large volume of patients."

Patients on the priority list obviously get first dibs on the vaccine.  But according to Dr. Bartlett, the number of people in his clinic asking for it, has gone down, "I've had no positive cases for the last 2 weeks.  It seems like the pressure to protect the area has decreased right now."

Garcia says the same thing goes for Midland, "We do have some calls but not that many calls, not like we did in the summer."

The bottom line is, it's there if you want it.

"There's some out there.  Is it enough? No, there isn't enough," Garcia added.

Dr. Bartlett says, it is important to remember, if you've gotten your regular flu shot, it won't protect you against H1N1.  If you feel you need it, consult your doctor and find out if you qualify.