Health Officials Say This Flu Season Less Stressful, Maybe

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Web Producer: Jason Bailey

John Welcher of the Visiting Nurses Association has 600 vials of the flu vaccine in the fridge.  So,  that's 6,000 doses with another 6,000 on order.

Welcher is confident that amount will be enough to supply the 25 clinics they have planned this year, a number which has been scaled back from last year when 100 clinics were scheduled and about half were canceled because the VNA simply ran out of the serum.
"Our goal was not to run out of flu serum at the sites that we planned (this year); they are bigger sites and they are more accessible," says Welcher.
Hopefully, the sites will be more accessible for seniors age 65 and older, who are among the priority groups, outlined by te Centers for Disease Control.
Others the others groups are children ages six to 23-months, individuals who have a chronic health condition, those who live in a long-term care facility or provide direct patient care, caregivers of children less than 6-months-old and pregnant women.
The CDC has recommended providers give the shots to these groups exclusively until October 24th, when the vaccine becomes available to everyone.
But will there be any left by then?
The CDC estimates there will be anywhere from 10 to 36 million more doses than last year, when a British company failed to meet production expectations.  That's the goods news.  The bad news is there will likely be the same long lines to wait in as last year.
"Everybody wants it at the same time, and I think what we've experienced in the past is that we get into December and no one wants it anymore, but people have it. It's available," says Welcher.
If you're not among the high risk groups, you can avoid the lines and wait until then to get your shot. Remember, flu season lasts until March.
But you don't want to wait too long because it takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to start working.