NEW YORK (AP) — Some New York City pharmacies and clinics are reporting flu vaccine shortages caused by increased demand following reports of widespread outbreaks.
The city's Health Department said Monday the shortages are in individual locations and don't reflect a larger supply problem. A representative for Walgreen Co., which also owns the regional Duane Reade chain, said some locations are running low, but the company is working to distribute vaccines to those stores.
"Stores are receiving vaccine as we speak," Walgreen spokesman Jim Cohn said.
Likewise, there are sporadic shortages at CVS stores in New York, according to spokesman Mike DeAngelis. "We are resupplying affected stores as quickly as possible," he said in an email.
Nearly 20,000 cases of influenza have been reported in New York state this season. That's more than four times the 4,400 positive laboratory tests reported all of last season.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a public health emergency Saturday for the state because of the severity of the season. He also issued an executive order suspending for a month the state law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizations only to individuals 18 years of age or older. Pharmacists are now allowed to administer flu vaccinations to patients between 6 months and 18 years.
Walgreen and Duane Reade stores were offering flu shots for children 7 and older as of Monday, Cohn said. CVS is still working out some details to allow its pharmacists to vaccinate minors, DeAngelis said.
City Health and Hospitals Corp. facilities, including its clinics, have no vaccine shortages.
Some independent pharmacies are also seeing supplies run short. Craig M. Burridge, executive director of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York, said independent stores are contacting their wholesalers to get more shipments. "We heard over the weekend that some wholesalers still had vaccine available," he said.