The surge in flu cases has depleted the supply of influenza vaccinations for some area pharmacies, but local agencies report no shortages.
Senior pharmacy technician Kyle Lyons, at the Walgreens on Carlyle Avenue in Belleville, said it was the only Walgreens store in Belleville or Shiloh with supplies.
A pharmacist at the Maryville Walgreens said the store's supply is very low. Both pharmacies expect more supplies, but they are not sure when they will arrive.
Pharmacy technician Michele Allison, at the CVS on North Illinois Street in Belleville, said no CVS pharmacies in the metro-east or St. Louis have flu vaccinations.
"We are expecting a shipment next week, but due to the shortage there is no guarantee," Allison said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Illinois was one of 24 states to experience high influenza-like illnesses during the week ending Jan. 5. From the beginning of October to end of December, 150 people in the state were admitted to hospital intensive care units with the flu. Six died from the flu. Last year, over the same time frame, only two people were admitted to Illinois intensive care units. There were no deaths.
But you're not out of luck if you haven't gotten your vaccine.
Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said there is no flu vaccine shortage in the state, but people may have to try more than one location before they are able to get vaccinated.
"The CDC is indicating that there may be spot shortages, but (vaccines) should be available in the area," Arnold said.
There are no shortages of vaccines at the Madison County Health Department, said public information officer Amy Yeager.
"We have plenty, come in and get it," Yeager said.
Marsha Wild, of the St. Clair County Health Department, said they are not experiencing a supply shortage. The department provides vaccines to children through the State of Illinois' "Vaccine for Children" program, as well as to St. Clair County employees and their dependents.
Both Memorial and St. Elizabeth's hospitals in Belleville report no vaccine shortages. However, vaccinations only are offered to patients after they have been admitted. Anderson Hospital in Maryville did not respond to phone calls.
Yeager recommends following the "3 Cs" to avoid the flu -- clean your hands, cover your mouth when you sneeze and contain germs by staying home when you are sick.
Vaccinations at the Madison County Health Department are available to everyone, although non-county residents pay a higher fee. Call 618-692-8954 for more information.
VNA-TIP Healthcare has vaccines available to the general public at all of their southwest and southern Illinois locations. Call 800-642-6099 and press "3" for a location near you.