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Supply of seasonal flu vaccine may run out in next two weeks

Supply of seasonal flu vaccine may run out in next two weeks

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Seasonal flu vaccine remains in short supply in the area, health officials said, while H1N1 vaccine has become so plentiful they are concerned about a potential surplus.

Officials this week stressed the importance of getting the seasonal flu vaccine now, as supplies may not last two more weeks.

The two La Crosse hospitals have received their full shipment of seasonal flu vaccine and expect to run out by Christmas.

"But we also expect anyone who wants the seasonal vaccine will get a chance to get it," said John Johnson, Franciscan Skemp director of pharmacy. "But they need to get it now."

Seasonal vaccine is available to anyone at the two medical centers and their flu shot clinics.

The elderly account for many of those coming in for seasonal flu shots, said Marilyn Michels, Gundersen Lutheran nurse epidemiologist.

"The vaccine is going quickly," Michels said.

The opposite is true for the H1N1 vaccine, they said.

"Demand for H1N1 vaccine is dwindling because we're not seeing as many flu cases," Johnson said.

But Gundersen Lutheran still sees serious H1N1 illness, Michels said. Children and people in the high-risk groups still need to be immunized, she said, as another wave of H1N1 flu is expected in January or February.

This week's flu report by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services still shows considerable H1N1 activity throughout the state, though the numbers of flu-like illness, hospitalizations and deaths have dropped.

Health officials expect the H1N1 vaccine will become available to all in the next few weeks.

"We need to get as many people vaccinated as we can to stop the spread of the virus," said Doug Mormann, director of the La Crosse County Health Department.



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