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Local pharmacy facing shortage of high-dose influenza vaccines for the elderly

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – It’s November, which means flu season is in full swing, but supply chain issues are hitting local pharmacies, making it harder for those 65 and over to get a high dose influenza vaccine.

Star Pharmacy pharmacist Krista Plaxco says it has been difficult for independent businesses. While big box stores can order wholesale and keep supplied through my wholesalers, the smaller ones only depend on a couple, and when these are impacted by the supply chain, the pharmacy suffers.

Plaxco said it had been a week and a half since they had been able to order the high-dose influenza vaccines from their wholesalers, despite daily checks. Throughout the season, the supply has fluctuated and ebbed, reaching the first major problem early in the flu season before leveling off and being nearly wiped out again.

Right now, the pharmacy has about a week’s supply before the holidays.

Plaxco said it was disheartening because their patients, aged 65 and over, need that higher dose of the flu shot to avoid ending up seriously ill and potentially in hospital.

She adds that this is just another hurdle that locally owned and operated businesses face in providing proper care to their patients during this pandemic.

“We stress the importance of bringing the supply in. We hope it will happen bit by bit,” Plaxco said. “It’s been a tough season since COVID started. He fought for hand sanitizer, for masks, for COVID injections. You know, health care, we’re exhausted.

She said they were exploring tertiary wholesalers they didn’t normally work with to try to restock and stay supplied for the rest of the season.

For now, his advice for patients over 65 is to call the pharmacy first before making the trip to get the shot just to check supply levels. If Star can’t get you vaccinated yet, she says, it’s important to try and get it somewhere before the start of January and the start of flu season.


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