Laws of Supply and Demand Don't Apply to H1N1 Vaccines

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN--According to health departments in Ector and Midland counties, those roles have been reversed, when it comes to the H1N1 vaccines.

According to Gino Solla, Director of the Ector County Health Department, "The demand has really drained down, dramatically."

Midland County Director, Sal Garcia, agrees, "I would say that the demand for the vaccine has gone down a little bit."

It's a complete 180, compared to just a few months ago.  Now that they have the H1N1 vaccines, people aren't asking for them.

"We originally ordered about 4,000 doses of H1N1.  This was in mid October, that we ordered it and we received it in early January.  We still have close to 2,000 now, we have approximately about 1,800," Solla explained.

According to Garcia, "We sort of estimate what we're going to order and what we can give out.  That way, we can keep a control on that."

With a surplus of vaccines, clinics have one more thing to worry about.  Some of their supply is getting close to the expiration date.  What then?  Unless they hear otherwise from the manufacturer, the expired vaccines, get tossed out.

"As the lots expire, we just destroy it with the rest of our biological waste and get rid of it," Solla says.

Some have already disposed of theirs. Others have not.

Garcia tells NewsWest 9, "We haven't gotten to that point yet.  I know it's coming pretty soon."

Ector County has dispensed about 25% of the vaccines they received, while Midland County has just over 300 left.  It seems, now that it's here, people just don't seem to want it as badly.

"I can tell you that it's been a definite experience of mine, when the supply is low, the demand increases, dramatically," Solla said.

"This is nothing new.  We just try to do the best we can with the resources we have.  That's all we can do, really," Garcia added.

With a few more weeks of flu season still ahead, health officials recommend if you haven't got your regular flu, or H1N1 vaccines yet, do it now.

Both Midland and Ector County Health Departments are offering the H1N1 vaccine to everyone free of charge.