With nearly 20,000 people having been infected with the flu this season—more than a 400% increase over all of last year—everyone from the CDC to your mom are freaking out about influenza. And with Gov. Andrew Cuomo having declared a state of emergency, allowing pharmacists to administer flu shots to all patients over 6 months old, it seems people are taking advantage of it—to the point that multiple pharmacies are running out of supplies.
CBS and Daily News found that almost all the pharmacies in Manhattan they called were out of the shots due to the demand. "We ran out," said Dr. Mark Melrose, who co-owns Urgent Care Manhattan on the Upper West Side. "We ordered a bunch that was supposed to be here. I think we gave out between 20 to 30 vaccines before we ran out." He said his office normally injects 2 or 3 people a day, but that jumped to 20-30 on Saturday. He added that his stock should be re-supplied sometime this week.
“On a typical day in prior years you would see maybe two, three flu cases a day and today we are seeing over 20 to 30, 40, 50 cases a day,” CityMD Urgent Care Dr. Gary Mazer said. Dr. Mary O’Brien of Columbia University told CBS that as long as they give the vaccine to as many people as they have supplies for, it'll allieve the situation: “If we can get as many people in the community vaccinated it means that there’s less people around to get the flu and give it to everyone else.” That's cold comfort for many parents: "Of course I’m concerned," said Ethlyn Singh, who struck out at a Rite Aid and CVS in Manhattan. "Kids can die. It's terrible. A lot of kids have died already. It's terrible. It's so terrible...I don't want him to get sick. He's my only son."
Altogether, 10 adults have died due to the flu this season. At least two children in NY state, and 18 altogether in the country, have died as well. New Yorkers can find a local vaccine provider by visiting http://flushot.healthmap.org/ and entering their zip code. New Yorkers without internet access can call 1-800-522-5006 or through TTY access at 1-800-655-1789 to find a nearby provider.