Pediatric flu vaccine may be hard to get

'Sport shortages' across Florida result of increasing demand

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. - Concerned parents in northeast Florida are taking precaution to prevent their children from getting the flu after the Duval County Health Department on Wednesday confirmed the first flu-related death in Jacksonville since 2009.

The death was of a child who health officials said did not receive the flu vaccine.

The pediatric flu vaccine is hard for one mother of two to get her hands on.

"I had an appointment scheduled for my youngest child -- he's 2 -- to get his flu shot, and when I called to confirm his appointment, they were out of the vaccine," Jessica Williams said.

Worried about a shortage, Williams called nearly a dozen doctor's offices in Nassau County. She said they all told her they were out of the vaccine.

"It's very scary, especially since my children are in day care," Williams said.

The Nassau County Health Department acknowledges parents might have to do more digging than normal to find the vaccine. In fact, the state Department of Health says there are "spot shortages" across Florida because of the increasing demand.

"People need to check with their pediatrician or their primary care provider to see if they can still obtain it," said Kim Geib, of the Nassau County Health Department. "There is not a back order, so they should be able to obtain the vaccine."

For those who don't have a doctor, the website does have a search engine that can help locate a place that does carry the vaccine. All users have to do is enter their ZIP code, then a list of places will pop up.

Those seeking the vaccine will still want to call ahead to see if the office carries the pediatric shot.

"We do have plenty of shots available here, and we are always working hard to maintain a supply, but presently we don't have any shortage," said Dr. Marc Thorpe, of CareSpot on State Road A1A in Yulee.

Thorpe says he's seen his fair share of parents getting their kids vaccinated. He suggests it's something everyone should consider.

"I would very strongly recommend that parents have their children vaccinated, have everybody vaccinated," Thorpe said. "Anybody 6 months or older should get the flu shot."

It's advice Williams is taking, thankful there's at least one clinic offering the shot in her community.

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