Iowa braces for flu

Flu shots are scarce in Fort Dodge.

Patricia Quinlisk, state epidemiologist, said Friday that influenza will likely keep going around until April. She said vaccines are still available, but people may have to call more than one location to find where shots are available.

John Daniel, owner of Daniel Pharmacy, 1114 Central Ave., said Friday he’s seen ”extreme demand” for flu vaccines, but didn’t have any available.

”Two or three weeks ago, I thought I had too much vaccine on hand,” Daniel said Friday. ”I wondered now much demand there would be after Christmas. The demand really perked up toward the end of last week and we’ve run out.”

Daniel said he expected to get 40 doses of the vaccine delivered Tuesday. He added that he may place another order for more on Monday.

Hy-Vee Drug Store, 214 S. 25th St., has run out of flu shots too, according to Jason Major, store director.

“I don’t know of anyone that has any left,” Major said Friday. “Because of the latest breakout, there’s been a shortage.”

Major said his store has been able to find more flu shots, and already they have been ordered.

“We will have them. Hopefully they will be shipped to us on Wednesday,” he said.

Hy-Vee, located at 115 S. 29th St., was also out of flu shots Friday.

Both Target, 2910 First Ave. S., and Walgreens, 2503 Fifth Ave. S., still have them. Webster County Health Department, 330 First Ave. N., has flu shots available, as well, and is holding a flu shot clinic on Monday.

Complete statewide figures on the number of flu cases are not available. The state gets data from 21 of Iowa’s 118 hospitals. At those hospitals, there were 141 hospitalizations due to influenza in the first week of January.

Quinlisk said there were never more than 20 hospitalizations during the same week in the past few years.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.