Somerville reports shortage of flu vaccine

The city of Somerville has run out of flu vaccine, and the mayor held a press conference this morning to let the world know. Somerville initially received 420 immunization doses from the state Department of Public Health last fall and then requested 300 more to ensure they’d have adequate supply, according to Jackie Rossetti, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.

“We heard the flu season was going to be more severe this season, so we wanted to make sure we had enough,” she said.

Supplies were exhausted in the Somerville health department—which provides the vaccinations for free—on Tuesday, a day before Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino declared a public health emergency to help deal with the influx of patients flooding into the city’s emergency rooms.

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Rossetti said folks in Somerville don’t seem to be panicking. “We didn’t receive many phone calls yesterday” from people looking for places to get their immunizations. Local pharmacies still have adequate supplies of the vaccine. Still, Mayor Joseph Curtatone would like to ensure that the town has more supply in case vaccination latecomers would like to get immunized.

“It is important to note that we have continued to administer these vaccines over a period of several months, and that the end of our allotted supply was not the result of a particular surge of requests or concerns,” said Curtatone at the press briefing. “It’s also important to note that cases of the flu were reported earlier than normal this season, leading to more requests for vaccinations earlier than usual.”

DPH spokesman David Kibbe said there have been some spot vaccine shortages in the state, but most people can find the vaccine in clinics that have adequate supplies.

Have you had trouble getting a flu vaccine? Send me an e-mail with the details.

Update: The Somerville Mayor’s office announced early in the afternoon that they would be receiving 100 donated doses of Flulaval, an influenza vaccine for adults ages 18 and older, from Cambridge Health Alliance. The additional 100 doses will be available at flu clinics, as supplies last, on Thursday evenings – beginning today—from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Somerville Health Department, 50 Evergreen Ave.