He’s irritated at lack of flu vaccinations

Published 8:06 am Wednesday, October 21, 2009

To the Editor:

Why do they call it the health department?

In the beginning of flu season there is no flu vaccine available. I called several times and no one seems to have a clue as to why they have none or can’t get any until the end of October or first of November. Walgreens, Food Lion and several other places have ample supply and no problem getting any.

What is wrong at the Franklin Health Department? I am diabetic. My mother is 86 and depend on them to have the vaccine. Unlike last year when there was a crucial shortage, this year there is no excuse. Someone needs to look into the ordering process or the individuals who are suppose to be taking care of the welfare of Southampton County. To say this borderlines on the ridiculous would be redundant.

Grady Williams


A response from the Western Tidewater Health District Director: Demand for the 2009 seasonal influenza vaccine has been substantially higher this year than in previous years.

Earlier this summer, the Franklin Health Department ordered 1,300 doses of seasonal flu vaccine from our state’s central pharmacy in Richmond. We have received about 570 doses to date (approximately 45 percent of our order).

We do anticipate receiving our full order of seasonal vaccine; however, due to circumstances outside the control of our state pharmacy, the shipment has been delayed.

Our state pharmacy is currently working with vaccine manufacturers, immunization providers and other state health departments to identify existing supplies of seasonal flu vaccine and to safely move them to providers who can administer it to the people who want it. This situation is dynamic, and we expect it to continue to evolve as the influenza vaccine season continues.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this temporary delay has caused the residents of Franklin.

In the meantime:

We are still early in the flu season and there is still time for people to get vaccinated to protect them from becoming ill.

Most residents will be able to obtain seasonal flu vaccine from their usual provider, but some will have to obtain the vaccine from an alternative provider.

Residents can find seasonal influenza vaccine by checking the American Lung Association Web site that identifies clinics that have the vaccine available: www.flucliniclocator.org.

Lisa McCoy, MD, MPH

District Health Director

Western Tidewater Health District