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Flu Shot Shortage Causing Lines, Anger – QNS.com

Flu Shot Shortage Causing Lines, Anger

Jacqueline Williams, site coordinator of the Lefrak Senior Citizen Center in Corona, was at a loss when an eighty-year-old woman began crying over the phone on Monday after finding out that the center would not offer flu shots this year. Williams had received a call that morning informing her that their order of the flu vaccine was not coming, forcing her to cancel the administration of shots planned for the following day. The center had anticipated giving flu shots to 127 senior citizens on Tuesday.
"Im getting calls from people and its just heart-wrenching," said Williams, who had been calling and receiving calls from other Queens sites in the same situation all day Monday. "Other sites are calling looking for [the vaccine], too. Its really terrible."
Dr. Peter Nelson at the Joseph Addabbo Health Center said they were also unable to find flu vaccines for 185 health care workers and a thousand of their patients that would qualify. "Its desperate," he said.
The New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene instructs individuals seeking locations where flu shots are available to search the lists of facilities on their website (https://a816-health12ssl.nyc.gov/dohroot/prjflp/) or to call 311. But many of the sites listed have had their supplies cancelled, too, and Williams said that calling 311 was useless.
"They dont have any information for you," she said. "And the information you get, if youre frail and elderly, you cant stand outside from five to eight in the morning."
New York Hospital was one of the few facilities able to acquire some of the vaccine, although their supply is a fraction of what it was last year. Cynthia Bacon, manager of public relations, said the hospital would only be vaccinating in-patients and hospital staff. "We cant do the big community outreach like we do every year," said Bacon. "We have to save it for the most serious cases."
Nelson said his best advice to vulnerable individuals was to stay out of crowds to avoid getting sick, and Bacon suggested people see their doctor if they qualified for a flu shot. Although not yet panicking, the health care workers were concerned. "I hate to think whats going to happen when flu season starts," said Nelson.
E-mail this reporter at sarah@queenscourier.com 

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