Shortage of high-dose vaccine impacting seniors


CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — If you’re a senior, and you need the high dose flu vaccine, you may be having trouble getting your flu shot. That’s because there’s a shortage in the high-dose vaccine for those 65 and older.

The NewsChannel 9 Your Stories Team has heard from several people dealing with this issue. Phyllis Vanhorn and her husband ran into roadblocks at both the doctors and the pharmacy.

“The doctor sent a message saying he should go to the pharmacy, a pharmacy because his supply was getting low,” Phyllis Vanhorn, an advocate for seniors.

Vanhorn and her husband traveled to four different pharmacies throughout Onondaga County looking for the flu vaccine, specifically targeted for ages 65 and older. She says all of them told her they ran out. But they finally found luck Thursday afternoon at their fifth and final pharmacy.

“Not just pharmacies, but even physician’s offices are having some limited supply with the high dose vaccine for ages 65 and up, but all other vaccines are in stock,” said Dr. Shannon Miller, Director of Patient Outcomes with Kinney Drugs.

The manufacturer for the high dose vaccine is behind on shipments. The company said the World Health Organization was delayed in finding the best vaccine to match this seasons’ flu, so the manufacturers are now catching up.

Still, Dr. Miller said though the high dose shot is more effective in seniors, when that’s not available, people should get the vaccine for those six months and older.

“It covers against four strains of flu. And it is effective for that population. the CDC doesn’t prefer one over the other,” Miller said.

“That’s my concern with, especially the over 65 crowd that many of them won’t pursue it, they just won’t get it,” Vanhorn said.

The manufacturer for the high dose vaccine says they are producing 70 million doses right now and the shipments will continue through November.

There is another manufacturer producing shots for seniors called Flu-ad that serves a similar purpose. That company tells us they’re not seeing a shortage and are still accepting orders.

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