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Published: Thursday, 11/2/2000

Delay in delivery of flu shots makes for a prickly situation

Many Toledo-area doctors and other providers of flu shots still are waiting for their supply of flu vaccines, a delay that's causing lots of headaches.

“I wanted to leave the country when I heard about the delay,” Nancy Host, president of Visiting Nurse, said. “It's a scheduling nightmare.”

Visiting Nurse provides about 16,000 flu shots annually in grocery stores and pharmacies locally. Ms. Host said her supplier had told her to expect flu vaccine by tomorrow, but now has said it won't arrive until Nov. 17 - and will be only a partial shipment.

That has forced Visiting Nurse to cancel flu-shot clinics until it gets its provisions. Visiting Nurse now hopes to begin giving flu shots Nov. 20.

A hotline, 897-2806, will be set up in a week to list new dates and times, and the web site, www.visitingnursetoledo.org, also will list locations.

Some area doctors have only received partial shipments.

Dr. Donna Woodson, who practices with eight family physicians in Maumee, said her office has received a small supply, but it's far less than her office needs.

She said she checked with five other doctors' offices yesterday and most didn't have their flu vaccination supplies. Some exceptions include ProMedica doctor offices, which have their supply, as well as the Toledo Clinic.

The Toledo-Lucas County health department has received less than a third of the vaccine it has ordered, but has started providing flu shots at area senior centers.

Dr. Woodson said the delay means it's crucial that only high-risk individuals get flu shots this month. Otherwise healthy people should wait until next month.

Indications - which have been proven wrong before - are that most vaccine should begin arriving by mid to late November. If high-risk individuals get a flu shot anytime this month or next, they still should be protected by the time flu season arrives, which is usually in January or February.

The shortage of flu vaccinations has caused some places across the country to boost the price of flu vaccine. It appears that isn't happening in Toledo. The cost of most flu vaccinations, which are covered by Medicare, is about $10.

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