E. TN Flu Shot Supply

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The calendar still says it's Summer... But it's already time to start thinking about flu season.

You're probably already dreading severe shortages and standing in line for hours to get a flu shot, as in years past.

But Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard tells us that's not likely this year.

CDC officials say a near record amount of flu vaccine will be available to the public this flu season.

In fact, they say about 75 million doses will be in most doctor's offices and clinics by the end of next month.

In 2004, production problems at one manufacturer caused nationwide shortages and hours-long lines for shots.

And last year, tight supplies caused doctors to limit shots at first to people at high risk.

But this year, CDC officials say more than 100 million doses should be available over the next several months... Meaning no one should have to step aside or hold off... When you want to get vaccinated you can be.

"The last e-mail we got from our supplier was that they anticipate shipping towards the end of September, which will fit totally with the CDC guidelines, which recommend that we start vaccination in October and November for those high-risk groups."

Exactly when your health department or doctor's office receives its supply depends on which supplier or manufacturer it used and when it placed its vaccine order.

Doctor Martha Buchanan says the near record supply should prevent flu shot rationing, but she also expects demand will be slightly higher this year.

"I think people will be more inclined to get a flu shot because of the fears of avian influenza. However, the flu shot will not provide any protection against a new or novel strain."

Providing added protection to the community... For the second year, Knox County is offering free Flumist vaccinations for all children, September 18th through October 13-th.

The flu usually enters a community through children, who are the major transmitter to other people, including those who are at high risk.

Last year, Knox County gave a total of 31,160 vaccinations to public school students, or about 45 percent of the population.

Because of that success, Flumist manufacturer Medimmune selected Knox County as the only location for a school-based influenza project this year.

Knox County has set a goal of vaccinating 70 percent of students prior to this flu season.