H1N1 Vaccine: High Demand in Some Areas, Low in Others Makes Supply Unpredictable

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

(Paul Kane/Getty Images)

(Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Demand for H1N1 flu shots is so high in most of New York state that doctors, hospitals, clinics and officials can't keep up. Yet, curiously, only a fraction of city residents have sought the swine flu vaccine. The majority of school students have declined the free shots, and special weekend clinics have been under-subscribed.

Still, there are no plans for Albany to shift the vaccine supply out of the city to areas where people are clamoring for it. Dr. Guthrie Birkhead from the state Health Department says the vaccine is allocated based on population size, and the city needs to be prepared, in case demand increases. 'At the moment, in New York City there’s not as much disease occurring as there is in the rest of the state. That may be a factor [in the low demand], and that could change in the matter of a few days, if disease suddenly starts to pick up in the city,' Birkhead says.

Outside the city, there are seven requests for every vaccine order that’s been filled.

You can see the latest statistics from the city here.

And the latest CDC info on H1N1 can be found here.


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Comments [6]


I am the mother to an infant under 3 months and we definitely want the vaccine for our family. Unfortunately, it ran out very quickly in our Brooklyn neighborhood. I just hope people start to wash their hands, sneeze into their sleeves, and stay home when sick but bad habits are hard to break.

Nov. 19 2009 09:22 AM

I heard that the vaccine has a high concentration of mercury as a preservative so I am a little hesitant.

Nov. 18 2009 12:50 PM
Rebecca Johnson

I tried to get a shot at a local clinic and they didn't have any. They said they expected to have some soon. But it's very very difficult to find places that actually have the vaccines available.

Nov. 18 2009 12:13 PM

I am wary of the presence of thimerosol in the shots (yes, there are some preservative-free ones for pregnant women and young children but I am neither). From so much of what I've heard and read, the H1N1 virus effects are similar to or lesser than a regular bout of seasonal flu. My impression is that the transmission rate is what is causing alarm and not actually the severity of the illness. I prefer to boost my immune system through diet and healthy behavior and will accept a few days in bed if it comes.

Nov. 18 2009 11:21 AM
James Elliott

I didn't even think to get the shot because I haven't had health insurance for so long now that I'm just so used to being excluded & on the outside of these things. Even if they're free now.

Nov. 18 2009 08:05 AM

I was under the impression that only children and adolescents were at risk and that reserves were not available to those over 50 years.

Nov. 17 2009 11:18 PM

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