West Texans Scrambling for Flu Shot Vaccines

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

Get ready to battle the flu bug. 

It hasn't reared it's ugly head yet, but the season has already started. The flu season runs from October through February, and doctors say the demand for flu shots is higher than ever before.

"It takes a couple of minutes, they go in, roll up their sleeve, take a flu shot, and go back to work," Alma Zamarripa, C.Ph.T with Evans Pharmacy in Odessa, said.

It's a simple process and one that's in high demand.

"The past 3 years has been slow and steadily climbing, but this year there has been a real demand for it," Zamarripa said.

The flu season has hit the Basin. Local clinics say they've never seen so many people scrambling to get vaccinated.

"A lot of people don't realize, but if you do not take care of yourself, and you do develop whether it's influenza or pneumonia, you could end up in the hospital and there are a lot of fatalities every year from that," Zamarripa said.

And West Texas is ready to go, pharmacists ordered the shots this time last year just to make sure we have enough to go around.

"I see a lot, more awareness of it, so hopefully this winter whether it is a harsh winter or not, we'll be more prepared than other places because the flu vaccine was available early on, a lot of people are taking advantage of it," Zamarripa said.

But what's surprising pharmacists are all the business owners buying vaccines.

"The economy right now is really good in our area and we need a lot of help and a lot of workers and everyone's hurting there and they can't afford to have more than one employee out at once," Zamarripa said.

Myra works at the Immanuel Baptist Church daycare and they offer the flu shots to all the workers.

"I try to take care of myself because I have 2 kids of my own and one's a premie, so we have to take care of ourselves," Myra Aguilar, an Odessa mom, said.

If you do get the bug, you could be out of work for up to a week and may even wind up in the hospital.

"Productivity goes down, it's a loss all around," Zamarripa said.

Evans Pharmacy will be offering the flu shots on Thursday at Desert Haven in Odessa starting at one in the afternoon.      

The cost is $25, but they say even if you get the shot now it only lasts for 90 days, so you'll need to get another one in January.