By Jeffrey Schaub

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) –Kaiser Permanente and Walgreens reported Friday afternoon that they are experiencing shortages of flu vaccine amid a spike of reported flu cases and news of recent flu-related deaths.

Walgreens said it expects to be restocked within the next day or two, while Kaiser said it has ordered additional doses of the vaccine, which it expects to be available Monday.

Bay Area County health officials had predicted many people would try to get a flu shot in the days ahead, as news about the multiple swine-flue related deaths in the Bay Area spreads. 

As late as Thursday, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention had no reports of flu vaccine shortages within in the nine-county Bay Area.

“We did a census of vaccine availability throughout the county and it’s reassuring that there’s plenty of vaccine available,” Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said at the time.

The Walgreens shortages are said to be “isolated” according to a spokesperson and customers should be referred to another location if the location they encounter is experiencing a “temporary shortage”.  

Here are some options:

Call you’re medical provider to see if they have the vaccine and whether you need to make an appointment.

Most major pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens provide shots for about $25 to $35. In many cases, however, insurance will cover the cost.

Most community health clinics provide free shots.

Once a vaccine is administered, it takes up to two weeks to become fully effective and this year’s shot does cover the H1N1 virus.


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