Demand for flu shots increase across Marin

Matthew Friend

The new year brought more than just a flurry of new calendars – with it also came a new wave of flu cases, and the overwhelming rush for vaccinations that often accompanies them.

CVS has struggled to keep up with the growing demand for flu shots, with sporadic shipments
CVS has struggled to keep up with the growing demand for flu shots, with sporadic shipments

In the first week of January, the number of outpatient visits to hospitals attributed to the flu was at six percent across the nation, over three times the usual rate at this time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the store manager of the Corte Madera Rite-Aid, who asked to remain unnamed, such high numbers have led to increased media coverage of this year’s flu, which he believes may be leading to

the high demand for seasonal flu shots.

He said that the store is receiving 45 to 50 requests for flu shots each day, well above the usual demand.

The store manager also said that while the demand has been high for flu shots, Rite-Aid can keep up with the demand because they still receive daily shipments.

Even with daily shipments, when the Rite-Aid pharmacy was asked for flu shots on the evening of Jan. 16, they said that they had run out earlier that day.

Supply is also an issue at CVS, according to the CVS store manager.

The manager, who requested anonymity, said that they have been unable to fulfill the demand for flu shots at his location, as they currently only receive two shipments of 50 doses per week.

The manager attributed this shortage of flu shots to the fact that the flu has come on later and stronger this season, causing increased media attention.

The Marin Health and Wellness Center said on its website that it recommends a flu shot to anyone over six months old who is neither currently sick nor allergic to chicken eggs.

According to the manager at CVS, if a pharmacy is out of flu shots, people should call their doctors, who receive a larger supply.