Posted: Jan 16, 2013 9:30 PM
Updated: Jan 16, 2013 10:01 PM
MISSION - Rio Grande Valley residents are rushing to local pharmacies to get flu shots only to find out the inoculations are not available.
Health officials said a spike in demand has created a temporary shortage of the vaccines. They said another batch is being shipped to the Valley.
A manager at the Walgreens Pharmacy in Mission said their flu vaccine supply has been depleted.
Local residents said even a nearby H-E-B pharmacy did not have the vaccines.
"I've never got the flu shot before, but this year I was considering it. Then my son came home sick. Now I come to find out they don't have anymore, so it's getting kind of scary," Irma Villarreal said.
Hidalgo County Health Department Epidemiologist Belinda Medrano said health officials expected the shortage because the flu came early this year.
"We've seen a (sudden) demand increase. Our local stocks have been depleted, and we ask that people be patient. We are trying to get that back in stock as soon as possible," Medrano said.
"We can only hold so much in the area. The requests are there, they're coming in and we will be replenishing the stock," she said.
Some residents said they may travel to other regions to find the inoculations.
"We're planning to go to San Antonio this weekend. Maybe I'll try over there," Villarreal said.
Health officials said the vaccines are still available in the Valley. They encourage residents to be persistent.
"They can call the Walgreens, H-E-Bs, their providers and see if they're stock has come in already," Medrano said.
"The local clinics will also have available for children who meet the Texas vaccine requirements. We do encourage them to call even their schools, some schools are having clinics available for children," Medrano said.