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Senior citizens could have trouble finding high-dose flu shot

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Posted at 6:33 PM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 19:33:51-04

A potentially bad flu season could get even worse for senior citizens because some providers are having trouble keeping the high-dose shot in stock.

Debbie Kreitlow was prepared to get the high-dose flu shot this season, but when she got to Walgreens in Shorewood Monday afternoon, she was disappointed to learn they were out.

"I don't want the flu. I mean people die from that so I just want to be protected,” Kreitlow said. "I’m 71 and I felt that I needed the extra protection."

Many people in the area and across the country are having a hard time finding the Fluzone high dose vaccine, a shot that came out 10 years ago as an effective option for people age 65 and older.

The problem is some clinics, doctor's offices, and pharmacies don't have any in stock or a very low supply.

Hayat Pharmacy only has five high-dose flu shots left.

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Dr. Hashim Zaibak of Hayat Pharmacy said his wholesaler’s inventory page shows it has zero high dose shots available to purchase.

"The communication we're getting is that there is a manufacturing issue. The product is on backorder," Zaibak said.

TODAY’S TMJ4 reached out to Walgreens and CVS for answers, and received similar responses, both citing "shipping" and "manufacturer" delays for the shortage.

"They're saying that they should have more later during the season so that's the good news," Zaibak said.

While the high dose may be more beneficial for seniors, the CDC has not given strict guidelines on which dose they prefer for the age group.

If you’re weighing the decision to wait for the high dose, Zaibak has one message.

"It's always better to have vaccination on board versus having no vaccination," Zaibak said.

Kreitlow wasn't going to wait, and went ahead with the standard dose.

"It's not going to stop me from getting my flu shot. I'm still going to go in and get it," Kreitlow said.

To find out if your provider has the high dose shot, call them ahead of time.