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Early Demand For The Flu Shot Causing Sporadic Shortages At Some Denver Pharmacies

DENVER (CBS4) - A Denver pharmacy says it's already completely out of the flu vaccine and was told by distributors, due to high demand, they may not be able to get more.

"I was told by three distributors that there might not be any supply after the preorders are fulfilled for anybody to order, for the rest of the season," said Carly Callan, a pharmacist at Capitol Heights Pharmacy.

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The Capitol Heights Pharmacy says it pre-ordered around 400 flu shots prior to the pandemic. On Saturday, Callan said the pharmacy administered its last shot.

"I spent a couple of hours on Friday trying to find places that I could get on a backorder list, and I found one that might be here in October," said Callan.

While the Centers For Disease Control says there are no shortages and flu activity is currently low, CBS4 Medical Editor, Dr. Dave Hnida says there are sporadic shortages of the vaccine, mainly because more people are being immunized early.

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Callan believes it's those who want to be immunized early, as well as those who have never been vaccinated, wanting to take additional precautions because of the pandemic.

"We've also had a lot of people who are like, 'this is my first time getting a flu shot', and we''re like 'alright, great come on in!'"

CBS4 reached out to some of the larger pharmacies Monday, in an email, CVS wrote,

"We have ample supply of vaccine on hand and are not currently experiencing or anticipating widespread shortages for the months when demand for the flu shot is at its peak. And yes, there are different doses, including a high-dose for people 65 and above, and our inventory in good shape for both. Also, we plan to administer 18 million vaccines this flu season nationwide, which is twice the amount of last flu season."

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Walgreens told CBS4 via email, it has seen an increase in demand for the vaccine but doesn't anticipate any shortages,

"With the COVID-19 pandemic driving greater consumer awareness and desire to be protected this flu season, we've seen early increase in customer demand. We're able to meet customer demand for flu shots at this time and are advising customers to contact their local pharmacy to verify availability of flu shots. We continue to work closely with manufacturers to ensure there is adequate supply this flu season."

The CDC reports flu activity is low and says September and October are good times to get vaccinated. For more information, click here.

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