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Hurricanes causing delays in getting flu vaccine

Duval County Health Department has shots, expects mist within week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Flu season is here, and the report of a child's death in Tampa has more people thinking about getting their annual vaccine. In some cases, they found the demand has surpassed demand.

Hurricanes Michael and Florence have added new complications this flu season, delaying shipments of the vaccine.

"We've had some delays in deliveries due to the hurricane," said Pauline Rolle, director of the Duval County Health Department. "That has indeed impacted delivery for all types of vaccines, but flu mist is one of those and we are certainly seeing those delays."

While the Health Department expects its shipment of the flu mist to arrive in the next week or so, the flu shot is in stock and available.

Flu clinics at Duval County schools were rescheduled in September as a result of Hurricane Florence. Healthy Schools, founded by former Jacksonville Jaguars player Tony Boselli, said the clinics are getting back on track, offering in-school flu shots to students in the district. 

Makeup dates for those flu clinics actually began Monday and will last until the end of the week.

Despite the delay, the Health Department said the spray will arrive in enough time to protect people from the flu. They encourage everyone to get protected before the end of the month.

"It takes two to three weeks for your body to build up antibodies against the flu virus and so don't delay," Rolle said.

Parents with children under 9 years old will need to begin that process early. They need two doses, given at least four weeks apart if it's their first time getting vaccinated.