Flu vaccine surplus? Maybe
Health officials say that concerns about a flu vaccine shortage may be unnecessarily keeping some people in the high-priority class away from getting vaccinated. In fact, so many Americans have put off getting shots, surplus conditions may soon exist in some areas.
In recent weeks, U.S. officials have negotiated to have several million extra doses of vaccine sent in from abroad. Shortage conditions were declared in October, when health officials announced more than 40 million doses - nearly half the U.S. supply - could not be used due to fears of contamination.
Various states around the country say that demand for the shots has dropped off noticeably. That is partly blamed on a slow start to the flu season, according to officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been no major outbreaks of flu reported at nursing facilities in the U.S. this season. The flu season traditionally peaks in January.
According to the CDC, 98 million Americans need the flu vaccine this winter, but only about 65 million doses of vaccine will be available them.